Suspect In 2015 Cheyenne Coin Shop Double Murder Was First To Call 911

The man who Cheyenne Police arrested on Tuesday for the 2015 double homicide at The Coin Shop was the one who initially called 911 after the crime had been committed. An affidavit shows the suspect tripped himself up talking about his alleged alibi.

Leo Wolfson

June 26, 202410 min read

Cheyenne police announced Tuesday, June 25, 2024, they've made an arrest in the 2015 double murder at The Coin Shop in downtown Cheyenne, a crime that rocked the community.
Cheyenne police announced Tuesday, June 25, 2024, they've made an arrest in the 2015 double murder at The Coin Shop in downtown Cheyenne, a crime that rocked the community. (Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily)

CHEYENNE — An affidavit of probable cause filed to get an arrest warrant for Douglas Mark Smith, 68, on two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly killing two people during a brazen 2015 daytime robbery in downtown Cheyenne says Smith broke the yearslong cold case himself by telling inconsistent stories about his alleged alibi.

Smith was arrested on Tuesday in California for allegedly shooting and killing George Manley, 76, and Dwight Brockman, 67, while robbing The Coin Shop in downtown Cheyenne. No prior arrests had taken place in the case.

Police officers had targeted Smith as a key witness throughout their investigation, but an affidavit submitted with the arrest warrant signed off by Laramie County Circuit Court Judge Antoinette Williams on Tuesday shows that investigators had narrowed their focus to Smith as a suspect by May 2023.

During two separate interviews Smith gave to officers at that time, his story about where and what he saw on the day of the murders had changed significantly, the affidavit says. This followed on the heels of other inconsistent statements Smith had given throughout the investigation.

“The information provided by Smith distracted and diverted Cheyenne Police Department resources during the early stages of the police investigation,” Police Detective James Pendleton writes in the affidavit.

The Mysterious Man With The Neck Tattoo

It was Smith who initially called 911 to report the shootings at The Coin Shop.

Smith at the time told police that he had walked in on a murder suspect at the business after Manley and Brockman had been killed, the affidavit says. Smith said the person was “pilfering” a safe located behind the counter.

Smith said the suspect pointed a .45-caliber handgun at him and told him to leave the store. It was then that Smith ran out and called 911.

In their investigation, detectives discovered Smith had owned multiple .45-caliber handguns during his life, the affidavit said.

Smith had told dispatchers, “They shot people in there,” but shortly after claimed to officers that he had never seen Brockman’s body.

Police analyzed nearby surveillance cameras covering every direction surrounding the shop, the affidavit says. There was no evidence of any suspect other than Smith leaving the business at the time of the crime.

Smith had told 911 operators he would try to get a photo of the suspect when they left the building but never saw anyone leave westbound from the store, which only had one exit. Nearby witnesses who had heard a muffled gunshot also saw no one leave the store or running from the area.

Officers arrived at the scene shortly after and also saw no suspects leaving the scene.

“There would have been surveillance video or Smith’s vision showing a fleeing suspect in all directions,” Pendleton wrote in the affidavit.

Smith later picked out a man with a large tattoo on his neck from a suspect lineup with 97% confidence, according to the affidavit. Previously, Smith had never mentioned the suspect having any kind of tattoo on his neck.

He explained away this inconsistency in a late-night email sent to former Detective John Pederson four days after the murder, where he speculated that the man must have been wearing makeup to cover up the tattoo while committing the crime. Smith also jumped to other conclusions about the suspect, who he referred to as “our guy,” saying the man “has done this in the past,” the affidavit says.

When asked about the email in 2023, Smith said he didn’t remember sending it. During an in-person interview conducted May 9, 2023, Smith said he was certain the suspect was someone else and denied ever looking at photo lineups, the affidavit says.

Smith also originally told authorities he had seen Manley laying on the ground dead with his head “against the counter or against the west wall” of the business. However, in subsequent interviews with police in 2023, Smith said he had never seen Manley’s head.

Using crime scene photos and other images of the building, officers determined that based on the location Smith said he was at in the shop near its entrance, he would not have been able to see Manley’s head, the affidavit says.

Douglas Smith, 68, was arrested June 25, 2024, in California on suspicion of first-degree murder for the killing of two men during a 2015 robbery of The Coin Shop in Cheyenne.
Douglas Smith, 68, was arrested June 25, 2024, in California on suspicion of first-degree murder for the killing of two men during a 2015 robbery of The Coin Shop in Cheyenne. (Courtesy Cheyenne Police Department)

Timing Doesn't Add Up

During a May 3, 2023, phone interview with investigators, Smith said he had been in the store for around 15-20 seconds. However, in his initial interview, Smith told Pederson that two to three minutes had passed from the time he entered the store until he called 911.

In an unpublished recount Smith submitted to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle newspaper, Smith said he only observed the suspect for three seconds. The affidavit doesn’t say when Smith submitted that to the newspaper.

Police studied the records of phone calls made to the business on the morning of the crime, and Smith had claimed he had called The Coin Shop shortly before going over to the business to make sure it was open, but there was no evidence this call ever happened, the affidavit says.

At 9:20 a.m. that morning, the records show a call was placed to the business by a man named David Helt that took 4 minutes and 18 seconds. Helt told officers there was nothing unusual about the call he had with Brockman and that he heard no talking in the background at the shop.

Smith claimed he had called the shop at 9:22 a.m.

At 9:26 a.m., another call was made to the shop by a man named Doug Gardecki, who also said nothing seemed suspicious.

The affidavit goes on to report that at that same time, Smith’s gold 1993 Lexus was observed by Cheyenne Public Transit surveillance cameras at the intersection of West 17th Street and Pioneer Avenue, about 45-51 seconds drive time away from the shop. Police determined that based on time estimates, Smith would have arrived at the shop at 9:27 a.m.

Three minutes later, the 911 call was placed, and three minutes after that officers arrived on the scene.

When confronted with this evidence timeline, Smith started backtracking, arguing that he might have “dawdled around” or sat in his car for a minute, according to the affidavit.

“Both statements contradicted multiple prior statements provided by Smith to detectives in which he described driving directly to the coin shop, parking and walking into the shop without hesitation other than leaving his cellphone in his vehicle and picking up ‘reading material’ for Ralph Barnes,” Pendleton wrote.

Smith had claimed he and Barnes had bonded over sharing conspiracy theories in the past. During two separate interviews Barnes gave in 2023, he denied having any knowledge of this shared hobby, and another person Smith referred police to as a point of confirmation for his alleged alibi also denied knowledge of it.

Two Blood Spots

When Pendleton interviewed Smith in California in 2023, Smith told the detective he still had the tropical shirt he wore on the day of the murder, which he referred to as “Dwight’s shirt.”

During an initial interview with investigators at the scene of the crime, Smith walked up to an officer wearing a hidden camera that picked up two red dots on the front of his shirt, the affidavit says.

Smith then responded, “If it’s blood, do you think it’s still in there?” According to the affidavit, no prior mention had been made about it being blood.

The shirt, which no longer had the spots, was submitted for DNA testing. Results from the test showed two DNA profiles from the fibers of the shirt. One belonged to Smith and the other was not identifiable.


When speaking over the phone in 2023, Smith described his theory on the sequence of events that led up to the murder in perfect alignment with how detectives also thought the event took place.

Smith hypothesized that the suspect carried a gun into the shop in a bag, and that he first pulled out a ring to sell to Brockman. When Brockman turned around to the cash register, Smith said the suspect must have pulled out the gun from the bag.

There was no DNA evidence on a ring found at the crime scene, the affidavit says.

When Pendleton asked Smith about the level of detail he provided, Smith started to walk away from his theory.

The affidavit continues, saying Smith then appeared to see where Pendleton was going with his line of questioning and became defensive, asking the officer why he would’ve committed the crime and that he loved Brockman and wasn’t trying to hide evidence. Pendleton responded that he didn’t know, but said the families of the victims need closure.

Just prior to the conclusion of the interview, Smith told officers, “If you guys want to haul me back and throw me in jail, that’s fine,” but denied killing anybody.

In their investigation, police also received reports that Smith had allegedly shown one of Brockman’s siblings detailed crime scene photos of Brockman still holding cash in his hand while laying deceased on the floor, the affidavit says.

Pendleton contacted Pederson, who has since retired, about this detail, who confirmed that officers did not show Smith any photos of Brockman from the crime scene.

Also unexplained was the fact that Smith was supposed to be at work at the time of the murder, the affidavit says. Smith said he was late that day and decided to go to The Coin Shop while on his way to work. When asked why he was late, Smith responded that “it just happened that way.”

Cheyenne police announced Tuesday, June 25, 2024, they've made an arrest in the 2015 double murder at The Coin Shop in downtown Cheyenne, a crime that rocked the community.
Cheyenne police announced Tuesday, June 25, 2024, they've made an arrest in the 2015 double murder at The Coin Shop in downtown Cheyenne, a crime that rocked the community. (Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily)

Breaking The Case

Laramie County District Attorney Sylvia Hackl would not comment to Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday about what led to the 13-month delay in Smith’s arrest from the last time he was interviewed.

“I’m not at liberty to comment on the different phases of the investigation,” she said.

Cheyenne Police Chief Mark Francisco and Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins both commended Hackl for helping keep the case alive. Laramie County Sheriff Brian Kozak, who was chief of the CPD at the time of the murders, specifically credited Pederson’s efforts Tuesday.

Hackl similarly gave credit to the detectives working the case and said the investigation was technically always active, but may have reached a lull before being reengaged again.

“Of course, I would consider this cold case to bring closure to so many people here,” Hackl said.

What’s Next?

Smith is facing life in prison for his alleged role in the double homicide. Hackl told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday that the state does not anticipate seeking the death penalty against him.

“At this juncture, we are not considering it for a variety of factors,” she said.

Smith was still in California as of Wednesday and had not yet signed his waiver of extradition. Hackl said it will depend on when and if Smith signs this waiver in determining when he has his first court hearing in Wyoming.

“A lot of it depends on the decisions Mr. Smith makes,” she said.

If Smith refuses to sign the waiver, Hackl said he may have an extradition hearing in California.

“We’re still in the early days of the case so we’re just taking it day by day,” she said.

While authorities in Cheyenne await Smith’s extradition, the CPD is asking for help in gathering more evidence in the case.

The agency on Wednesday afternoon put out a statement asking for “information regarding a firearm that may have been owned by” Smith. Specifically, if someone acquired a firearm from him or have any knowledge of a firearm belonging to him, Detective Pendleton wants to hear from you.

Contact him at 307-633-6666, or people can contact the CPD anonymously at 307-638-8444 or at

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

Share this article



Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter