A Laramie County man avoided a potential involuntary manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal shooting on Pole Mountain on Sept. 9, after the case was reviewed by the Albany County Attorney’s Office. The attorney’s office determined the shooting was in self-defense because of the reckless nature of events before the incident, Albany County Prosecuting Attorney Peggy Trent said. Self-defense was expanded in May — in the Wyoming Supreme Court case, Anthony Haire v. the State of Wyoming — to include reckless acts, such as when a person knowingly disregards potential risks, she said.
“In this particular case, it is our office’s position that Page acted recklessly in the way he proceeded, but the Supreme Court in May ruled self defense was available for when charging a crime involving a reckless act,” Trent said. “(If he was criminally charged), the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not do it in self-defense.”
Albany County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call regarding a fatal shooting around 1:20 p.m. Sept. 9 on Forest Service Road 701 on Pole Mountain.
When they arrived at the scene, the deputies learned Brice Page, 27, shot Matthew Butrick, 43, a sheriff’s office news release states.
Before the incident, Page and his family were traveling on Forest Service Road 701 when he saw a multi-colored truck allegedly chasing two subjects riding ATVs. The driver of the truck, identified as Butrick, was seen exiting his vehicle and began assaulting one of the riders — both of which were determined to be 15 years old, the news release states.
Page and his family approached the scene and yelled at Butrick to stop assaulting the rider, Butrick then turned his attention to Page and threatened to assault him if he didn’t mind his own business, sheriff’s office information states. The riders used this as an opportunity to collect themselves and leave the area, according to information provided by the sheriff’s office.
The news release states the two riders were getting ready to leave the area when Page drove down the road to wait for them and make sure they got out safely. While Page was going away from the scene, Butrick entered his vehicle and drove to where Page was waiting for the riders, according to the news release.
After Page exited his vehicle and retreated backwards to lead Butrick away from his family, Page then drew his fire arm and ordered Butrick to stay back or he would shoot, according to sheriff’s office information.
The news release states Butrick allegedly continued his advance and after Page retreated about 20 feet, he fatally shot Butrick — the two men were about 3 feet apart when the shot was fired.
“After Page fired his weapon, fatally wounding Butrick … the Albany county sheriff’s office recovered several loaded fire arms from Butrick’s vehicle,” Trent said. “Including a rifle that was visibly located on the gun rack of the vehicle.”