Casper Man Who Blurted ‘I Killed Somebody’ During Hearing Pleads Not Guilty

A 44-year-old homeless Casper man who blurted out “I killed somebody” during an unrelated court hearing on a probation violation changed his mind on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge.

Dale Killingbeck

May 08, 20242 min read

The Townsend Justice Center in Casper.
The Townsend Justice Center in Casper. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

CASPER — A 44-year-old homeless man who confessed during an earlier court hearing that he “killed somebody” pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of second-degree murder.

James Franklin Mavigliano stood before Judge Daniel Forgey in an orange jail jumpsuit, shackles on his hands and feet and told the judge he understood the charges against him in the alleged March 5 killing of another man at a Casper motel.

His attorney Steven Mink entered the not guilty plea on his behalf.

Mavigliano, who was homeless March 5, was arrested following an incident at the Topper Motel, 728 E. A St., where officers were called about 10 p.m. for a report of someone “unconscious.” When police arrived, they found Chance T. Arias, 28, of Evansville dead on the floor.

Mavigliano is charged with second-degree murder, which implies there was no premeditation involved in his alleged actions.

Police reported that Arias’ injuries were “consistent with a physical altercation.”

‘I Killed Somebody’

During his initial arrest, Mavigliano was charged with a probation violation and in a hearing in Casper Circuit Court on that charge the next day he told the judge, “I killed somebody last night for protecting a woman. I place God’s mercy on you all, and don’t judge.”

Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen told the judge Wednesday that a tentative three-day trial date in July would be adequate for a trial.

Mavigliano remains in the Natrona County Jail under a $500,000 cash bond.

The second-degree murder charge carries a penalty of not less than 20 years to life. Mavigliano also faces a misdemeanor charge for possession of a controlled substance related to methamphetamine police allegedly discovered during his arrest. That charge carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000.

Court records show that Mavigliano pleaded no contest to domestic assault Dec. 1. 2023, and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation. He was arrested Dec. 26, 2023, for public intoxication and told his probation agent that he was “drinking alcohol and huffing air duster.”

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at

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Dale Killingbeck