Casper Boy, 17, Charged With First-Degree Murder In Killing Of High School Girl

A Casper 17-year-old identified only as E.C. who reportedly had bragged about wanting to have a “gun battle” with police was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday in the shooting death of a local high school girl.

DK
Dale Killingbeck

May 15, 20245 min read

Casper PD Car 2
(Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

CASPER — A local juvenile who allegedly bragged about wanting to have a “gun battle” with police a month ago was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday, accused of the Tuesday fatal shooting of a 17-year-old Casper girl.

The 17-year-old boy with mop-like curly brown hair was identified only as E.C. when he appeared via videoconference in Casper Circuit Court on Wednesday afternoon. He was wearing a red jumpsuit and appeared to listen intently as Judge Kevin Taheri first informed him of his rights, answering “yes sir” when asked if he understood them.

Taheri then informed him he was charged with first-degree murder stemming from his alleged actions Tuesday, and also a misdemeanor stalking charge stemming from actions between April 18 and May 14. The judge did not mention the victim’s name, Lenea Brown, which was released by the Natrona County Coroner’s office earlier Wednesday.

“Do you understand the charges?” Taheri asked.

“Yes, sir,” E.C. replied.

Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen asked the judge to set bond at $1 million cash.

“Obviously, these are serious charges. A month prior to this he had been making homicidal and suicidal threats,” Itzen said, adding that the teen “wanted to have a gun battle with law enforcement.”

A temporary defense attorney representing E.C. asked for a $500,000 cash or surety bond stating he had family in the city.

Taheri said he agreed with the state’s assessment and set bond at $1 million cash.

Itzen also told Taheri that there “were some allegations of drinking” involving E.C. Taheri agreed to add drug and alcohol testing to the bond requirements.

Casper Police Department is investigating the fatal shooting of a high-school-age female in a southwest city neighborhood early Tuesday.
Casper Police Department is investigating the fatal shooting of a high-school-age female in a southwest city neighborhood early Tuesday. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

Autopsy

Meanwhile, Chief Deputy Coroner Darin Kiester said an autopsy is being performed on the Brown on Wednesday. He did not have additional information to share.

A news release from the coroner’s office said Casper police are investigating an incident that happened in the 6800 block of Buckboard Road on the city’s southwest side. Police were at a residence in an adjacent neighborhood for several hours on Tuesday.

Natrona County School District spokesperson Tanya Southerland said she could not share information regarding the grade status of Brown, a student at Natrona County High School.

“Natrona County High School will continue to offer counseling to students (and) they will remain available throughout the school year,” she said. “The NCHS school community is supporting students and each other during this devastating time. We encourage parents and guardians to reach out to their child’s school if they have questions regarding available resources in our schools and community to support their child.”

Southerland also said the Three Trails Counseling Center provides confidential and free counseling services to school district employees should they require help.

Tuesday’s shooting, which follows the April 7 fatal stabbing of Bobby Maher, 14, at the city’s mall allegedly by two 15-year-old boys, was on the minds of Casper City Council members at their Tuesday evening work session.

Mayor Steve Cathey said he extended his “deepest condolences, prayers, and support to the family” of Brown.

“As a community we are saddened and call once again to reflect on what we can do to work against violence, especially violence carried out against our youth,” he said. “We need to continue to work, we are going to be looking at some other options, but we have to somehow get the message to our youth that there are better ways of resolving conflict than through violence.”

Frustration

Councilman Ray Pacheco, a social worker, said he also extended his sympathies to the family and those affected. He also said he’s “frustrated.”

“I think we have to figure out the collaboration part that we need to do. It hurts me as a social worker, it hurts me as a counselor and youth worker for 27 years that we continue to face these things that happen very regularly in big cities and it’s bled over to us,” he said. “There are no easy answers. Collaboration works if we work together. … We’ll continue to work toward that, all of us up here. But my heart goes out to our community.”

Councilman Kyle Gamroth encouraged other councilors, professionals and interested people to go to the Blue Heart Collaborative meeting set for 5-7 p.m. Friday at the YMCA in Casper. The group was formed after Maher’s death to try and bring community professionals together to deal with the issue of a growing culture of youth violence in the city.

“I believe the intent is to kind of take the first steps in having a community discussion about the things that we all as citizens, as entities, as nonprofits can be doing to create a more healthy community especially in light of the other loss of life,” Gamroth said. “I think it is important, and I certainly am going to try and attend myself.”

Blue Heart Collaborative organizer DC Martinez also has set up a Blue Heart Collaborative meeting in June at the YMCA for area youth.

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

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