Shootout suspect's trial delayed

Paul Howell to undergo psychiatric evaluation

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— A Craig suspect authorities believe to be the mastermind behind a string of crimes beginning in Moffat County and ending in Casper, Wyo., had his jury trial postponed at the request of his public defender.

Paul Martin Howell, one of the adult suspects allegedly behind Moffat County robberies and a shootout with Wyoming police last year, is charged with attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted murder. He was one of six suspects arrested and charged in Natrona County District Court for the Wyoming shootout.

Howell's trial was scheduled to begin Monday. However, on June 21 his public defender requested the trial be delayed so Howell could undergo a psychiatric evaluation through the Wyoming State Hospital, a Natrona County court clerk said.

The trial has not been rescheduled.

The court granted 30 days for Howell to undergo the evaluation, either at the State Hospital or through a doctor's visit to the Natrona County Detention Center, where he is in custody.

All of the suspects - save for Howell and juvenile Johnathan Milligan - have pleaded guilty to the charges.

Sentencing hearings for the suspects have been postponed until after the Howell trial. A court clerk said some of the suspects are expected to be called to testify against Howell, who authorities believe to be the ringleader in the bi-state crime spree.

Milligan, who is charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted first-degree murder, has also pleaded not guilty. His trial remains on the docket and scheduled for Aug. 20.

Authorities allege the suspects burglarized several Moffat County businesses late last year, then crossed state lines into Wyoming, where they attempted to rob a bar before exchanging gunfire with police while trying to flee.

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

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