Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Mark Dykes
Editor 

Haire decision reversed, remanded for new trial

 


A verdict in a case against Anthony Haire was reversed, and the case itself remanded for a new trial, following a decision by the Wyoming Supreme Court on Monday. Haire was sentenced about a year ago to 8-10 years with the Wyoming Department of Corrections, on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. He was also given a one-year probation sentence on a reckless endangerment charge.

The charge itself states on April 13, 2015 Hair shot and killed his stepfather-in-law, Jamye Don SoRelle, following an argument. He was found guilty Dec. 10 in Washakie County District Court. Both Haire and SoRelle had previously lived in Hot Springs County.

According to statements of facts related to the incident, Haire was grilling in front of his trailer for his family and a friend. When the friend attempted to leave, she found her vehicle was blocked by a truck owned by SoRelle. Attempts were made to get SoRelle to move the truck, and in a phone conversation SoRelle seemed upset the friend’s vehicle was blocking one he typically used and he retaliated by moving another to prevent her leaving. When SoRelle appeared in person he had a handgun and fired a shot between Haire’s wife and friend.

Haire moved the two women inside his residence, retrieved a pistol from his vehicle and took a position behind a truck. Haire claims he saw SoRelle raise his arm and the glimmer of a gun. Haire fired a couple times, SoRelle squared up and raised his gun and Haire emptied his clip at SoRelle. A neighbor testified to hearing one shot followed by the sound of someone emptying a clip. Nine of 12 shots hit SoRelle, who died of those wounds.

Haire contended that he shot SoRelle in self-defense after SoRelle initially fired at him while Haire was in front of his residence. However, it was determined SoRelle was shot while on the ground.

An appeal in the case was filed on May 27, 2016. According to Monday’s decision, the facts are that Haire shot and killed a man, but claimed he did so in self-defense. He raised two issues as to the jury instructions on self-defense. First, he contended the district court erred in failing to give the jury a requested castle doctrine instruction, which would have said a person has no duty to retreat in his home even if he could safely do so. Second, Haire asserted the district court committed plain error when it gave an instruction informing the jury that he had a duty to retreat before using deadly force.

According to the decision filed Monday, “It is reasonable to conclude from the record that the jury, after being instructed on the law as it was, likely concluded [Haire] had a general legal duty to retreat and did not do so, and that therefore he did not have the right to use deadly force in self- defense or defense of his family and [friend.] The duty to retreat became material to the case because of [Haire’s] testimony and the prosecutor’s use of that evidence as permitted by the errant instruction . . . In sum, the error adversely affected a substantial right. There is a reasonable probability that, without the erroneous instruction, the jury could have reached a verdict more favorable to [Haire] than it did. Consequently, we must find that [Haire] has demonstrated that he was materially prejudiced.”

Though the case has been remanded for a new trial, there has been no date set.

 

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