CASPER, Wyo. — A suspect who is accused of strangling another person was officially given a felony charge during a hearing in Natrona County on Monday.
During an Initial Appearance, the suspect in the case was charged with felony Strangulation of a Household Member, which carries a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both. The suspect also faces a misdemeanor charge of Domestic Battery. All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office.
Court records show that the suspect is also currently on probation from a case alleging ID Theft from earlier this year.
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An affidavit filed by the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office in Natrona County Circuit Court says that deputies were summoned to an address on Salt Creek Highway after witnesses reported finding a distressed person on the side of the road who said that they had been beaten up and “choked out.” During an interview with the NCSO, the victim in the case reported that the suspect had choked them with his hands while at a private home multiple times during the night of September 10, 2021. During one of the incidents, it was also alleged that the suspect had placed his hands over the victim’s nose and mouth, obstructing their breathing.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2021, the victim said that they were able to leave the home on foot and made contact with a bystander while walking on Salt Creek Highway in Natrona County, who contacted emergency dispatch.
Deputies say that they attempted to contact the suspect, identified in open court during his September 13 Initial Appearance as 40-year-old Joseph Herrera, at his private home during the morning of September 11, but were unsuccessful. It is said that sheriff’s officials knocked multiple times on the home’s door, but that they only made contact with Herrera after someone acquainted with him sent him a message asking him to come out.
The suspect told deputies that visible injuries on the victim had been caused by another member of the household and that he had been involved in a verbal confrontation with the accuser, but that the confrontation had not become physical.
It is written in the affidavit that based on the interview conducted with Herrera, as well as the contact law enforcement made with the victim, the suspect was arrested and ultimately transported to the Natrona County Detention Center. During his initial appearance before Circuit Court Judge H. Steven Brown, Herrera received a $25,000 cash or surety bond amount.
The suspect made headlines in June 2021 after being accused of a charge of ID Theft. Documents filed in the June case show a disposition of “Guilty” being filed on July 19, 2020 to a misdemeanor ID Theft charge.
In the June case, a victim said that they suspected Herrera had taken out a credit card in the reporting party’s name without the reporting party’s permission, and charged over $1,100 worth of items to the account. Among the items were a set of tires that were then given to the victim. They said that they were unaware that the tires had been purchased in their name, until receiving a notification of a missed payment.
In the ID Theft case, Herrera was sentenced to 6 months’ incarceration, with all of the time suspended, pending successful completion of 6 months supervised probation. In addition, Herrera was ordered to pay $550 in fines and $747.97 in restitution to the victim in the case.
Herrera is currently expected to be scheduled for a preliminary hearing to see if the September Strangulation case will be bound over to Natrona County District Court.