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Attempted Murder Charge Against Wyoming Parole Board Member Dropped

James Weisbeck, a Wyoming parole board member and former police chief, was charged with attempted second-degree murder and attempting to intimidate a witness after his live-in girlfriend accused him of firing a handgun at her and threatening to kill her if she reported the incident.

According to police documents, officers responded to a 911 call by Jill Ferris in the early morning hours of June 15, 2011. She told them that Weisbeck had fired a handgun at her, but missed, and threatened to kill her if she called the police. Officers discovered a bullet hole in the couple’s living room wall. They then arrested Weisbeck outside and found a .357 revolver in his vehicle.

Weisbeck was released on $100,000 bond and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 13, 2011. A few days before the hearing, Hot Springs County Attorney Jerry Williams dropped the charges. Williams refused to provide an explanation for his decision not to pursue charges against Weisbeck, though Ferris reportedly recanted and said Weisbeck had not threatened to kill her.

Weisbeck was appointed to the Wyoming Parole Board in 2004 by Governor Dave Freudenthal, and reappointed in 2009. He remains the board’s vice chairperson; the seven-member board conducts parole hearings and recommends commutation of sentences to the governor.

Current Governor Matt Mead has the power to remove a board member for any reason. However, Mead spokesman Benny MacKay said no action has been taken to remove Weisbeck.

Sources: Billings Gazette, Associated Press

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