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Hearing held for slain teen’s ex-boyfriend

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David Velazquez with the Casper Star-Tribune, via the Wyoming News Exchange

Judge finds sufficient cause to move murder case forward

CASPER — In a packed Natrona County courtroom Thursday morning, one person wore a shirt printed with “Justice for Lene’a,” and others wore white shirts with pictures of Lene’a Brown with pink wings and a pink halo. The crowd was there for the preliminary hearing of Eavan Castaner — who is accused of fatally shooting Brown in the face May 14.

Castaner, 16, appeared in front of Judge Michael Patchen wearing a red jumpsuit, orange rubber clogs and handcuffs with his undercut hair tied back.

A Casper Police detective was questioned regarding Brown’s death, and tears and sniffles could be heard as tissues were passed around the front rows.

Patchen ultimately determined that enough evidence was presented to move the case forward. A request to reduce the $1 million bail to $100,000 was denied.

Initial appearance

Castaner made his initial appearance last Wednesday and was charged with felonious first-degree murder and misdemeanor stalking.

Just after midnight early Tuesday, police responded to a call for a shooting near Buckboard Park. Police at the scene found an unresponsive 17-year-old Lene’a Brown in the middle of Indian Wells Road near the eastern intersection with Buckboard Road. An affidavit stated Brown had an “obvious gunshot wound to the head and a large amount of blood around her.”

Paramedics transported Brown to the Banner Wyoming Medical Center where she was officially declared deceased shortly after arrival to the hospital.

A witness at the scene identified Castaner, 15 at the time, as the shooter, according to the affidavit.

Castaner and Brown had dated before breaking up on April 18. Detective Jonathan Schlager said the break up was “messy” and that Brown had broken an Xbox, ruined shoes and given away airpods belonging to Castaner.

Warning signs

Schlager and a police affidavit stated that Castaner was in possession of a Glock 43 and had previously sent messages to friends saying he wanted to kill someone.

A police inspection of Brown’s phone revealed “text messages from unknown numbers which from the content of the messages appeared to have come from Castaner.” Brown’s phone also contained missed calls from the same numbers — almost all of which were unanswered.

Castaner additionally sent a friend, identified only as R.S., a picture of two pistols in a glovebox, one of which was the Glock 43 used the night of Brown’s death, Schlager testified.

Additional documents brought up on Thursday included a picture of Castaner showing a gun at a camera while taking a selfie.

Also brought up on Thursday were messages by Castaner to Brown and R.S. the day before the shooting. In messages shown to the police, Castaner messaged R.S. saying “I’m actually about to kill someone R.S. Like seriously I am.”

“I’m shooting at his car on everything I’m killing tonight.”

In later messages, he added “I just want to kill someone, I have to release my anger.” Castaner’s attorney Ryan Semerad on Thursday denied the claim that the killing was premeditated and added that Castaner did not know Brown would be there the night of the shooting.

Semerad added that the shooting was an “impulsive and hastily executed action.”

Brown posted screenshots of messages from Castaner late Monday night stating “I hope you die slowly i’m go celebrate when you die” and “I hope you die in the most painful way possible.”

A cousin of Brown, only identified as R.R., saw the messages that Brown posted from Castaner and messaged Castaner.

Detective Schlager testified that R.R. confronted Castaner through text about the messages and a fight was set up at Buckboard park.

Schlager later added that Castaner sent a video to R.R. showing a gun.

Lead up

Brown and R.R. had a friend, Charles Binkley, 18, give them a ride to the park. R.R. brought a bat and Binkley was carrying a concealed Taurus G3. Binkley told police that he carries a concealed firearm every day, according to an affidavit.

Castaner had been staying at the house of the girl who lived nearby Buckboard Park with whom he had been beginning a relationship, according to an affidavit.

Castaner earlier that day mentioned he had consumed a large amount of Tito’s Vodka at his father’s house, according to an affidavit. A witness said that Castaner was not walking straight just before the shooting happened, Schlager said. Castaner’s new girlfriend and R.S. both attempted to stop Castaner before the shooting.

As Castaner attempted to leave the residence of the new girlfriend, she “repeatedly told Castaner not to leave and attempted to physically restrain Castaner from leaving.” Castaner ultimately shook free and made his way to the park where R.S. also tried to stop Castaner.

“[R.S.] repeatedly told Castaner to get into the vehicle, but Castaner refused,” the affidavit states.

Castaner’s friend at the park later “attempted to physically restrain Castaner.”

The friend told police he felt what he believed was a gun in the front of Castaner’s waistband, according to an affidavit.

A white van driven by Binkley arrived near the park and Castaner’s friend “repeatedly told Castaner to get into the vehicle but Eavan refused,” the affidavit states.


R.R. was the first one to make his way to Castaner with a bat. Brown followed R.R. and Binkley stayed back. As Castaner “approached them he drew a Glock 43x 9mm pistol from his waistband and chambered a round,” according to an affidavit.

Castaner told police he “acquired the pistol from his mother’s residence approximately three days prior and had been carrying it for three days. Castaner knew the magazine was completely loaded.”

Schlager said that as soon Castaner chambered a round R.R. started backing away and Binkley pulled out his firearm and only pointed it at the ground. Brown kept walking towards Castaner. Brown appeared to be preparing to punch Castaner when he shot one round at Brown roughly 3 to 4 feet away, according to an affidavit.

Brown quickly fell to the ground and Binkley went up to check on her while Castaner fled back toward the direction of the park. Schlager said Binkley fired two shots in the direction of Castaner because Binkley feared Castaner would come back.

A total of three bullet casings were found at the scene.


Following the shooting, Castaner went back to the house of his new girlfriend, according to police interviews stated in the affidavit. Castaner unloaded the pistol and concealed it once he made it to the residence. He placed the pistol into a dresser drawer prior to surrendering to police.

Schlager testimony revealed that Castaner repeatedly called R.S. asking if he would pick him up.

“Castaner eventually exited the residence, unarmed, and was placed in custody and transported to the Casper Police Department for an interview,” the affidavit states.

This story was published on May 24, 2024.

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