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After pleading guilty to assaulting a woman, a Wyoming man allegedly stabbed another to death

Nine days after an Ethete, Wyoming, man pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman, he allegedly stabbed another woman to death.

Kevin Joseph Mendibles, who turns 37 this year, was charged last week with first-degree murder in the Feb. 25 stabbing death of 37-year-old Inez Whiteman on the Wind River Indian Reservation, according to a criminal complaint made public Friday.

The grand jury indictment alleges that Medibles “intentionally, willfully, maliciously and with malice aforethought and malice” killed Inez Whiteman by beating and stabbing her. If convicted, he faces a mandatory life sentence.

He is being charged federally as the federal justice system handles crimes on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Whiteman grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation and would have turned 38 in June.

But first another woman

In a previous and different incident, a Lander police officer arrested Mendibles on Jan. 13 for domestic violence.

Lander Police Officer Casey Tadewald responded to a local apartment that day on a report of domestic violence between a man and a 35-year-old woman.

When Tadewald arrived at the apartment door, he heard a man inside the apartment shouting obscenities and a woman shouting, “Help me!” according to an affidavit filed Jan. 16 in Lander Circuit Court.

The woman screamed for help again, the document said.

Tadewald discovered the front door was unlocked, so he rushed in to help, followed the voices down the hallway, drew his Taser and ordered those screaming to show themselves, reportedly.

A man stuck his head out of the bathroom; Tadewald later wrote that he recognized the man as Mendibles from previous interactions with law enforcement.

“He then showed me both hands,” Tadewald wrote, noting that the man’s hands were bloody.

Tadewald ordered Mendibles into the hallway and told him to face the wall; The officer put the handcuffs on him and held him down. He turned around and saw a woman sitting on the bathroom toilet, bleeding from a ¾-inch laceration near her left eye, while her face, hands and clothing were bloodied, the affidavit said.

Tadewald put Mendibles in his police car and then went back to interview the woman, who reportedly said Mendibles had threatened to kill her and punched her in the face.

The affidavit says emergency medical personnel came to check the woman’s condition, and Mendibles was taken to the Fremont County Detention Center without incident.

Guilty

Mendibles pleaded guilty in that case on Feb. 16 to one count of domestic violence. He was released on a $1,250 unsecured bond and ordered to avoid alcohol and his victim.

He was scheduled to be sentenced on March 19, but that case has now been classified as ‘inactive’, presumably in light of Mendibles’ ongoing murder allegations involving Whiteman.

Meanwhile, murder case

The documentation of Mendibles’ first-degree murder case is brief. It does not contain a public statement about probable cause, but it does include an indictment, a warrant and the prosecutor’s request for the judge to keep the suspect in jail during his prosecution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Elmore asked the federal court in a May 15 filing to hold a hearing on the case and ultimately detain Mendibles. The prosecutor cites the violent nature of the alleged crime and a “serious risk that the suspect will flee” or obstruct justice if released.

The filing also states that Mendibles could face life in prison “or death,” although the indictment does not specifically mention death as a possible punishment.

Clair McFarland can be reached at [email protected].