Concerns led to police presence in courthouse

Alexis Barker, NLJ News Editor

All hands were on deck during a Feb. 28 sentencing at the Weston County Courthouse. According to Weston County Attorney Michael Stulken, the Weston County Sheriff’s Office, Newcastle Police Department, Upton Police Department and Wyoming Highway Patrol all aided in guaranteeing the safety of all involved in the sentencing of McKenley Williams on two separate counts of sexual assault. 

“Jeani (Stone, deputy Weston County attorney) and I worked on this case for a year. There were lots of allegations that someone might do something. We were very concerned going into it,” Stulken said during a March 15 Weston County Commissioners meeting. “With the help of those entities, we felt safe and secure.” 

Sprinkled throughout the courtroom that day were six to eight deputies from the sheriff’s office, according to Stone. They ran metal detectors over the individuals who came to pack the courtroom. 

Outside, Stone said, Newcastle police officers worked the grounds, circling the block and patrolling the roads. Upton Police Chief Susan Bridge sat with the family of one of the victims in the courtroom, escorting the family to and from town. Also on-site was a highway patrol. 

“We had two sets of victims and families. One set of victims said they were proud of Weston County for the effort put into the case,” Stone said.

“I was very proud,” she added.

Sheriff Bryan Colvard said that of greatest importance to him was the
ability of everyone in the courtroom being able to speak and say what they wanted without repercussion. Stulken said that was accomplished and that everyone felt safe and secure. 

“It was a stunning effort. I’m appreciative of the effort,” Stone said. 

With a packed courtroom, according to Stone, there was “lots of opportunity for something to go sideways,” but everything went as smoothly as possible.

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