Gillette Man Fails to get Kidnapping Conviction Overturned

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) On a January night in 2014, Steven Vaught assaulted his wife, both physically and sexually, while threatening to kill her. He allegedly was suffering from depression and was off his medication. That's not, however, why Vaught brought his case to the Wyoming Supreme Court to appeal his conviction on two counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping. At around 4 in the morning the night in question, Vaught's wife got out of bed and was in the kitchen when Vaught tackled her, duct taped her mouth, and started choking her. He told her "You made me do this," and then told her he was going to tie her down to the bed and kill them both. Ultimately Mrs. Vaught was never tied up, but she did have to talk her way out of the couple's bedroom by offering to make breakfast. She escaped to a neighbor's apartment -- wrapped only in a blanket she grabbed off the living room couch -- and called police. [image: StevenVaught.jpg] This was all revealed in a two day trial October of 2014, which was when Vaught was convicted on all three charges. But what Steven Vaught alleges is that the felony kidnapping charge he faced shouldn't have been applied. The crime of kidnapping has evolved a lot in Wyoming over the past 100 years, but these days whether someone merits a felony charge or a lesser crime like false imprisonment depends on the situation. Someone who drags a victim to a nearby alley to rape them isn't necessarily committing a kidnapping, for instance. Wyoming statutes defines kidnapping in part as a confinement to "inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim"or "if the defendant does not voluntarily release the victim unharmed and to a safe place." The jury at his original trial in district court had asked questions during deliberations pertaining to the kidnapping charge, and asked for clarification on the statute. Both the prosecution and defense agreed that everything the jury needed to know was in their jury packets. Vaught felt that this also was an error. Ultimately, on January 20th 2016, the Supreme Court disagreed that there was any mistake committed by the lower courts. They pointed out that Vaught's wife wasn't trying to escape from him because he sexually assaulted her, she was sexually assaulted while she was trying to escape. The kidnapping charge stands. Vaught still faces 55 years in prison, a possible life sentence for a man who is already 54 years old. #county17 #news -- *Brenda Kirk* Community Maven for | 614.940.7121 Twitter | Instagram | Facebook PitchEngine™ | *Connecting Communities* | Twitter | Facebook