‘He’s Not Sorry,’ Family Of Slain Woman Says As Accused Killer Pleads Not Guilty

Family of Utahnna Bearcomesout looked on Monday as her accused killer pleaded not guilty, then told them he’s sorry while leaving the courtroom in shackles. “He’s not sorry,” the alleged victim’s sister said.

Clair McFarland

June 10, 20243 min read

Conrad Tillman
Conrad Tillman (Via Facebook)

LANDER — When a 37-year-old Fort Washakie, Wyoming, man accused of shooting his wife to death this spring pleaded not guilty Monday in federal court, a man in the gallery scoffed. 

“I’m sorry you guys,” said Conrad Tillman to his deceased wife’s family, as he shuffled out of his arraignment hearing in a Lander outpost of the U.S. District Court for Wyoming. 

Tillman had just pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder in the April 14 shooting death of his wife, 36-year-old Utahnna Bearcomesout.

“He’s not sorry,” Claire Spoonhunter, Bearcomesout’s older sister, told Cowboy State Daily in the parking lot outside the court. “Why didn’t he plead guilty?”

Delta Azbill, Bearcomesout’s mother, was desperate for answers after the hearing. 

“Why did he do it all? Why didn’t he let her go like he did before?” asked Azbill.

She said when the pair would fight in the past, Tillman would have Bearcomesout get out of their truck. 

Azbill said that when looked upon her own daughter in the morgue, besides being shot, Bearcomesout had bruising on the other side of her face. 

Back In Court

Tillman had trudged into the small space of Lander’s federal courtroom earlier Monday morning with his hands shackled in front of him. He wore sneakers, an orange Fremont County Detention Center jumpsuit, glasses and a mustache. His hair was buzzed and balding. He stood about 5-foot-9 inches tall and appeared on the heavier side. 

A man sitting with Bearcomesout’s family, who declined to comment to Cowboy State Daily, glared at Tillman throughout the proceeding. 

Though the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Wyoming originally charged Tillman in April with second-degree murder, a grand jury later indicted him on suspicion of three criminal counts: first-degree murder, discharging a firearm during an act of violence and using a firearm in a murder. 

He gave his three not-guilty pleas Monday in answer when asked by the judge. Each carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while a first-degree murder conviction would make a life sentence mandatory, according to Tillman’s indictment. 

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Teresa McKee asked Tillman if he wanted her to read his indictment before he gave his pleas. 

He said no, adding that, “It’s too painful for me.”

He told McKee he’s had some work as a cook and made it to his senior year of high school, but didn’t graduate. 

Utahnna Bearcomesout's family remember her as fun-loving, outgoing and a good mother. She also became withdrawn and isolated in the years before she was shot to death.
Utahnna Bearcomesout's family remember her as fun-loving, outgoing and a good mother. She also became withdrawn and isolated in the years before she was shot to death. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

‘The Gun Went Off’

On April 14 at about 9 p.m., Tillman was driving Bearcomesout and their 10-year-old daughter on a highway south of Fork Washakie in his pickup, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed last month, which became public for the first time Thursday.

They were arguing, the document relates.

Tillman later told FBI Special Agent Terence Hill that as he drove 60 mph, Bearcomesout hit him multiple times, almost causing a crash. He stopped the truck, grabbed a gun he kept in it and pointed it at her head, he reportedly said.

Tillman’s plan was just to get her to leave him alone, “but the gun went off,” striking Bearcomesout in the head, he told police, reportedly.

He shouted the F-word, placed the pickup truck in park and flagged down a passing vehicle. He asked the driver to call 911, as he had just shot his wife, the affidavit says.

“I did not observe any wounds or bruising on Tillman,” reflected Hill, in the affidavit.

Tillman’s trial is set to begin Aug. 12 in Cheyenne.

Clair McFarland can be reached at clair@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter