A judge denied a motion to reduce the bond of a teenager who is charged as an adult with multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Dale Warner has been in the Campbell County Jail since Nov. 13 on a $275,000 cash-only bond. Warner, 15, is accused of bringing two guns and 36 bullets to Sage Valley Junior High School on Nov. 13, allegedly with a plan to shoot nine students and teachers.
In March, Warner pleaded not guilty to nine charges of attempted first-degree murder.
His attorneys, local public defender Jefferson Coombs and Wyoming State Public Defender Diane M. Lozano, asked that his bond be reduced to $10,000 and that he be placed under his parents’ supervision.
District Judge Michael N. “Nick” Deegan denied the motion to modify the bond during a Thursday afternoon hearing, saying Warner is “a threat to public safety.”
Most of the inmates in the juvenile detention center in the Campbell County Jail are there for days at a time, but Warner has been in jail for more than 10 months, Coombs said, adding that sometimes he is the only person there.
“The seclusion has been difficult,” Coombs said.
Coombs said Warner is not a flight risk because his family lives in Campbell County, and added that Warner would not be a danger to the community if he is under 24/7 supervision from his parents.
Coombs recommended that Warner live with his father and stepmother in a home free of all guns, alcohol, drugs and other mind-altering substances. Heritage Christian School offered to help set Warner up with online schooling, which would be done at his home under his parents’ supervision.
Coombs also proposed having Warner wear an ankle monitor that pings every minute so his location is known at all times.
With the 24/7 supervision by his parents, as well as removal of abusable substances, “the community can also be kept safe,” Coombs said.
Prosecuting attorney Nathan Henkes said Warner is a risk to society. He pointed out that Warner was living with his parents when the Sage Valley incident happened and that Warner has a history of drug use.
Warner also has received several write-ups during his time at the JDC, including for punching another inmate, lying, refusing to follow commands, threatening to hurt others and encouraging others to riot, Henkes said.
Coombs said it’s been five months since Warner’s last write-up, which shows that his behavior has improved.
If Warner were an adult, he would be looking at life in prison for each count.
Coombs also asked Deegan that if he wasn’t willing to change the bond, if he would at least consider allowing Warner semi-monthly contact with his family. He now can only talk to his family through a video screen.
“It’s very difficult” for Warner to not have direct contact with his family, Coombs said.
Deegan recognized that it can be very difficult for a teenager to be separated from his family, adding that it’s “hard for even adult prisoners.” But he does not want to tell the sheriff how to run his jail.
In the coming weeks, he and the attorneys will talk to see “what we can do for some kind of human contact.”
There will be a hearing Oct. 28-30 to determine whether Warner’s case should be moved to juvenile court.