After Guilty Plea For Abusing Woman, Wyoming Man Allegedly Stabbed Another To Death

Nine days after an Ethete, Wyoming, man pleaded guilty to abusing a woman, he allegedly stabbed a different woman to death. He was indicted last week on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Clair McFarland

May 20, 20243 min read

Wind River Indian Reservation sign 5 20 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Nine days after an Ethete, Wyoming, man pleaded guilty to abusing a woman, he allegedly stabbed a different woman to death.

Kevin Joseph Mendibles, who turns 37 this year, was indicted last week on a charge of first degree-murder in the Feb. 25 stabbing of Inez Whiteman, 37, on the Wind River Indian Reservation, according to a court filing made public Friday.

The grand jury indictment alleges that Medibles “willfully, deliberately, maliciously and with premeditation and malice” killed Inez Whiteman by beating and stabbing her. If convicted, he faces a mandatory life sentence in prison.

He’s charged federally because the federal courts system handles felony-level crimes on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Whiteman grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation and would have been 38 in June.

But First, A Different Woman

In an earlier and different incident, a Lander police officer arrested Mendibles on Jan. 13 for domestic abuse.  

Lander Police Department Officer Casey Tadewald responded to a local apartment that day on a report of domestic violence between a man and a 35-year-old woman.

When Tadewald arrived at the apartment door, he heard a man yelling obscenities inside the apartment and a woman screaming “help me!” according to an affidavit filed Jan. 16 in Lander Circuit Court.  

The woman screamed for help again, says the document.

Tadewald found the front door to be unlocked, so he rushed in to help, followed the voices down the hall, drew his taser and ordered those yelling to show themselves, reportedly.

A man popped his head out of the bathroom; Tadewald later wrote that he recognized the man as Mendibles from previous law-enforcement contacts.

“He showed me both hands at that time,” wrote Tadewald, noting the man’s hands were bloody.

Tadewald ordered Mendibles into the hallway and told him to face the wall; the officer handcuffed and detained him. He turned to find a woman sitting on the toilet in the bathroom, bleeding from a ¾-inch laceration near her left eye, with her face, hands and clothes bloodied, says the affidavit.

Tadewald put Mendibles into his police vehicle then went back to interview the woman, who reportedly said Mendibles had threatened to kill her and had hit her in the face.

The affidavit says emergency medical personnel came to check the woman’s condition, and Mendibles was taken to the Fremont County Detention Center without incident.

Kevin Joseph Mendibles
Kevin Joseph Mendibles (Fremont County Detention Center)


Mendibles pleaded guilty to one count of domestic battery in that case Feb. 16. He was released on an unsecured bond of $1,250 and ordered to avoid alcohol, and his victim.

He was scheduled to be sentenced March 19, but that case is now classified as “inactive,” presumably in light of Mendibles’ pending homicide allegations pertaining to Whiteman.

Meanwhile, Murder Case

The documentation of Mendibles’ first-degree murder case is terse. It doesn’t contain a public statement of probable cause, though it contains an indictment, a warrant and a prosecutor’s request for the judge to keep the accused in jail during his prosecution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Elmore asked the federal court in a May 15 filing to hold a hearing on the matter and ultimately detain Mendibles. The prosecutor cites the alleged crime’s violent nature and a “serious risk defendant will flee” or obstruct justice if released.

The filing also says Mendibles could face life in prison “or death,” though the indictment doesn’t specifically list death as a potential penalty.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter