CASPER, Wyo. — A Casper teen charged as an accessory to a pair of shootings last July pleaded not guilty to four felony charges in Natrona County District Court on Tuesday.
Investigators say Benjamin Jackson-Rocca, 17, helped his friend Endre Arion Wass locate the home of a witness to the July 11 shooting at the fairgrounds.
Wass has pleaded guilty to pulling the trigger of a 9mm during a confrontation at the fair. The target told investigators he had agreed to a fistfight with Jackson-Rocca and Wass leading up to the shooting.
He told investigators the bullet passed through the “meaty portion” of the back of his leg.
An 18-year-old woman wholly unrelated to the dispute was also struck in the shin by the single bullet, causing an acute break that left the lower part of her leg connected only by tissue, according to the affidavit.
Multiple statements collected during the investigation indicated that Jackson-Rocca had yelled “shoot him!” in the moments leading up to the shot.
Wass entered his guilty pleas Sept 28.
Jackson-Rocca is presumed innocent until proven or pleading guilty.
After fleeing the scene, investigators believe that Jackson-Rocca offered to hide Wass’s gun at his house.
They believe he also informed Wass that the witness who had driven them to the fair had spoken to Natrona County Sheriff’s Office investigators.
Wass has also admitted to the drive-by shooting of the witness’s home in east Casper in the early morning hours of July 13.
Investigators believe that Jackson-Rocca rode with Wass and others to the home and that Jackson-Rocca confirmed the location as the home of the witness.
Wass fired about 10 shots; five went into the witness’s bedroom, and another went into the bedroom of a 12-year-old child.
That neither victim was struck “appeared to be nothing more than sheer luck,” the investigator’s report stated.
There are conflicting statements as to whether the driver, an unnamed party, knew what Wass intended when driving to the home.
The driver then drove out of town, and sources said that Jackson-Rocca had made plans for him and Wass to stay with a contact in Fort Collins.
Security footage from a Maverick station in Douglas shows the vehicle pulling up and the individuals getting out, the report said.
Wass told investigators the driver turned back to Casper after they called family members and were denied permission to take the vehicle to Colorado, the report said.
The driver brought the vehicle back to Wass’s residence in south Casper, where both Wass and Jackson-Rocca were arrested.
Jackson-Rocca appeared in District Court on Tuesday walking with a cane and out on bond.
Jackson-Rocca was shot at a house party in Evansville on Oct. 29, during which time he was also out past curfew, according to a petition for bond revocation filed in circuit court.
He is expected to make a full recovery, the document said.
A bond revocation hearing is expected in the coming weeks.
The case, which includes charges resulting from the continued investigation, advanced to district court this week despite several closed-court hearings petitioning to move the case to juvenile court.