Adult suspects bound over

Paul Howell, Michael Garren charged with attempted murder

A judge in Natrona County, Wyo., ruled Thursday that there is sufficient evidence pending against two Craig men charged with attempted murder.

Paul Martin Howell, 29, and Michael Garren, 19, are charged with five counts of attempted murder. They are also charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, armed robbery, concealing property and conspiracy to commit murder.

Both men appeared Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing. Michael Blonigen, district attorney of the Seventh Judicial District in Natrona County, said the suspects would appear for an arraignment hearing in four to six weeks, during which they'll enter a plea in the case.

The charges against the two adults stem from their involvement in an armed robbery and gun battle with law enforcement officers in Casper, Wyo. The suspects allegedly fired stolen guns at five officers.

Four juveniles, also from Craig, were allegedly accomplices.

One of them, 17-year-old James Gore, waived his preliminary hearing. The three other juveniles, Daniel Merwin, 16, Steven Liljedahl, 16, and Johnathan Milligan, 16, are slated to appear in juvenile court today.

The suspects are charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, armed robbery, concealing property, and conspiracy to commit murder. Milligan also faces five additional counts of attempted murder.

The six, along with two more juveniles in Moffat County, are also the primary suspects in six burglaries in Moffat County from Nov. 20 to 29. The Moffat County Sheriff's Office is investigating the two other juveniles.

Motions have been made on behalf of the youths in juvenile court. Blonigen is restricted from commenting on matters in juvenile court.

However, he reiterated Thursday that he would seek to prosecute all of the defendants as adults.

"At this point, I see no reason why the state would change its position," he said. "It will remain adult prosecution."

All six are represented by separate public defenders. None has posted bond, and they remain in custody at the detention center in Natrona County.

Blonigen said it's too early to decide whether to prosecute all of the defendants in one case.

"That's something we'll have to address, but this case is about a week old," he said. "Right now, our biggest task is obtaining information and gathering reports."

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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