Detective Testifies Casper Teen Accused Of Killing Bobby Maher Said He Wanted ‘To Gut That Dude’

A video showing a pair of 15-year-olds beating and stabbing 14-year-old Bobby Maher on April 7, along with an alleged threat to “gut that dude,” were enough to bind the teens over to adult court on murder-related charges.

DK
Dale Killingbeck

April 19, 20246 min read

Bobby maher justice center and memorial 4 18 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

CASPER — A video showing a pair of local 15-year-olds beating and stabbing 14-year-old Robert “Bobby” Maher the afternoon of April 7 at the Eastridge Mall was part of the chilling testimony that led a local Circuit Court judge to find enough evidence to try the older teens as adults on charges that include first-degree murder.

Another part was testimony from a Casper police detective that one of the accused allegedly threatened to “gut that dude” two days before Maher was stabbed.

Maher had gone to the mall to protect his girlfriend from being harassed by the suspects, and died after suffering multiple stab wounds.

The video and other evidence presented by Casper Police Detective Tiffany Elhart under questioning by Natrona County District Attorney Daniel Itzen led to the 15-year-olds being bound over to Natrona County District Court.

Jarreth Plunkett and Dominique Harris walked into a fifth-floor courtroom in red jumpsuits wearing waist and ankle chains. Defense attorneys Marty Scott Sr. and Brandon Booth both had conversations with their clients before the preliminary hearing began.

Under questioning by Itzen, Elhart walked through two 911 calls and the initial response by Casper police and other law enforcement agencies to the Eastridge Mall at 1:41 p.m. April 7 for a report of a stabbing and a youth not breathing.

Elhart said the investigation included interviews with most of the 12 juveniles ages 11-15 who were at the mall and witnessed the fight, as well as others. During the hearing, the defendants and youth witnesses were all referred to by initials.

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Video Evidence

Two videos were introduced as evidence, one of the fight scene at the mall that was taken by Maher’s girlfriend and another of a confrontation between the defendants and the girlfriend who was with Maher’s best friend in an alley as they walked home from school.

Testimony from Elhart said the defendants approached the pair and asked where Maher lived. Then Plunkett had a question for Maher’s friend.

“You want to get his blood debt?” Plunkett asks as part of a hard-to-understand profanity-laced confrontation.

Testimony by Elhart showed that the defendants first put Maher on their radar during spring break when he asked them if they were “freaks” after he saw them entering a portable toilet together at a park. That led to the confrontation two days before Maher was killed.

Elhart testified that in an interview with Harris, he alleged that he and Plunkett had been drinking that day.

She said Harris told police that on about April 5, Plunkett said that he wanted to “gut that dude,” referring to Maher.

On the day of the stabbing, Elhart said interviews with Harris and Plunkett allegedly revealed that in the morning, Plunkett and Maher had a voice conversation via social media that led to Plunkett giving the phone to his stepfather. Elhart testified police are still trying to determine whether that conversation took place.

A memorial for Bobby Maher, the Casper 14-year-old who died after being stabbed outside Eastridge Mall on April 7, grows near the spot of the altercation. Maher's favorite color was blue.
A memorial for Bobby Maher, the Casper 14-year-old who died after being stabbed outside Eastridge Mall on April 7, grows near the spot of the altercation. Maher's favorite color was blue. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

Hide-And-Seek And Fights

Elhart said Harris told police that he and Plunkett went to the mall to “play hide and seek and maybe get in fights and altercations. They took ski-type masks with them referred to as ‘shiesty’ masks.”

Surveillance video from nearby Target showed both defendants inside the store and stealing separate 3 1/2-inch kitchen knives at 11:48 a.m. that day according to a time stamp, Elhart said, adding that the time stamp has not been verified.

Elhart said interviews with the defendants and Maher’s girlfriend revealed when they saw Maher’s girlfriend and her friends in the mall, Plunkett and Harris asked if Maher was coming and statements were made about wanting to fight him. As they followed the girls, Maher’s girlfriend called Maher and asked him to come to the mall.

Elhart testified that when another teen who arrived at the mall learned that Harris and Plunkett planned to fight Maher, that he opposed the fight and said he would fight with Maher to make it fair.

Elhart said interviews with Harris and that youth, referred to as HW, both confirmed Plunkett pulled out a knife.

Harris told police that “JP took the knife out of his pocket and held it to his chest and told him he was going to shank him,” Elhart testified.

Once the defendants spotted Maher at the mall, Elhart said interviews showed Harris “got in the face” of Maher and the defendants challenged him to go outside.

Fight Video

The video of the fight was taken vertically using a smartphone and shows a masked Plunkett and Maher backing away as they circle each other. Harris is in the background behind. There was no audio.

Plunkett pushes Maher, then hits him in the face with his right hand. Harris swoops in, picks up Maher and body slams him to the concrete. As he holds Maher down, Plunkett makes two quick jabs into Maher’s body with a knife, the both defendants back away.

Maher gets to his feet, walks to the mall entrance and then collapses.

Under questioning by Booth, Harris’ defense attorney, Elhart testified Harris did not keep his knife but gave it to another youth who was at the mall because Harris was on probation and did not want to get in trouble.

Booth also mentioned a rapper named “Pooh Shiesty,” that the ski masks the pair wore are called “shiesties” and are in fashion, and that kids wear “shiesties” in graduation photos.

Plunkett’s attorney Scott questioned Elhart about a statement his client allegedly made during the mall fight where Maher asked him to get rid of the knife because it wasn’t fair and Plunkett allegedly said, “I don’t fight fair.”

Elhart said the statement can be heard on one of two videos of the fight.

Itzen told Judge Nichole Collier the evidence presented by Elhart’s testimony showed probable cause to bind the pair over on their felony charges, and she agreed.

A young teen girl who identified herself as Bobby Maher’s girlfriend thanked the crowd for coming and apologized to everyone who had to witness the tragedy on Sunday.
A young teen girl who identified herself as Bobby Maher’s girlfriend thanked the crowd for coming and apologized to everyone who had to witness the tragedy on Sunday. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

Bond Continued

Attempts by Booth and Scott to reduce bond for their clients was denied. Plunkett’s bond was continued at $500,000 and Harris’ at $450,000.

Plunkett was bound over on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and aggravated assault and battery. The first two charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison and the assault charge 10 years in prison and the potential for a $10,000 fine or both.

Harris was bound over on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, which carries a potential life sentence, and aggravated assault and battery.

Both defendants also face misdemeanor theft charges.

Family Wants Justice

The Maher family on Thursday also released a public statement through their attorneys, Ryan A. Semerad and Grant Lawson, about Bobby’s death.

“His murder has left a crater in the family that cannot ever be filled,” they wrote. “The Maher family will fight to get justice for Bobby from every party responsible for his killing.”

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at dale@cowboystatedaily.com.

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