Authorities have identified a man stabbed to death last month outside of Riverton as 20-year-old Lawrence Oldman III, and his alleged killer as 22-year-old Ezekiel Ute.
Oldman, of Riverton, died of homicide by multiple sharp force injuries, according to a public death docket the Fremont County Coroner’s Office sent Wednesday to Cowboy State Daily. He would have been 21 in July.
Ute is from Fort Washakie, prior arrest records indicate.
Keep It Quiet Until We Have Him
Federal authorities charged Ute with assault and homicide Jan. 5, three days after Oldman’s stabbing death on the Wind River Indian Reservation. But the case investigator asked the U.S. District Court for Wyoming to keep the case sealed at first, as Ute fled after the Jan. 2 stabbing, court documents say.
At some point in the first half of January, tribal authorities arrested Ute and put him in the Wind River Detention Center, after which the FBI seized him on Jan. 16.
At about noon on Jan. 2, Ute, Oldman, two women and a fifth, unidentified person piled into his turquoise Pontiac and left Ute’s father’s house, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed in the case.
Ute was driving. A female sat in the passenger seat. Another female sat in the middle back seat with the unidentified person on her left and Oldman sitting on her right.
The five drove to a liquor store in Riverton, which borders the Wind River Indian Reservation. Ute bought alcohol and they drove around, “drinking the alcohol,” a witness later recalled.
It Turns Ugly
Then things turned ugly, the affidavit indicates.
One witness said Ute started driving recklessly and acted like he was going to wreck the car intentionally. He stopped the car and the female in the front seat got out and refused to get back in.
Oldman got out and argued with her, telling her to get back in the car, the affidavit says.
Ute got out of the car, attacked Oldman and stabbed him repeatedly, the witness later told an FBI investigator.
Ute told the others he’d stab them as well if they didn’t get back in the car, then he got back into the car and drove away – leaving Oldman lying in the road – while allegedly holding the knife to his own throat as he drove.
The female sitting in the front seat reportedly took the knife from Ute and dropped it out of the car window.
Later, federal and Fremont County Sheriff’s Office investigators searched the area but could not find the knife.
The female pleaded with Ute to turn around and go back for Oldman.
He did eventually turn around and go back to where Oldman still lay in the road. The female got out of the car and tried to help Oldman until emergency medical services arrived on scene, the affidavit says.
The second female witness, who claimed she was asleep during the stabbing, told authorities she woke to the sound of people arguing about Oldman.
“What did you do?” the back-seat female heard the front-seat female ask, reportedly. “Why did you stab him?”
Ute kept driving for about four minutes, the affidavit says.
The female in the front seat kept urging him to go back and look for Oldman.
“Why you guys wanna go back?” Ute allegedly asked.
But he drove back.
The females got out of the car to take care of Oldman but the unidentified person stayed in the car, along with Ute, says the affidavit.
Ute allegedly sped off so quickly westward that one of the females was still trying to shut the car door as he sped away.
The females called 911.
‘Stay With Me’
The one who’d been sitting in the back seat took off her jacket and pressed it to a large wound on Oldman’s chest. He seemed “out of it,” she later recalled. But he was still awake and his eyes darted back and forth.
“Stay with me, you can’t leave yet. You’re gonna be OK,” she told him, according to the affidavit. She held his head to keep it out of the snow.
The second witness — who had reportedly cradled Oldman’s head in her arms — later told investigators that Ute had been bragging the night before the stabbing that he had a knife, was in the National Guard and had dog tags.
She described the knife as a switchblade-style knife with a black handle and silver blade. But she didn’t see that knife again after the stabbing, says the affidavit.
Ute could face a term of up to life in prison.
Assault resulting in serious bodily injury is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. Second-degree murder is punishable by a term of up to life in prison, and up to $250,000 in fines.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Teresa McKee on Jan. 19 ordered Ute to remain in jail during his case, at the prosecutor’s request.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.