Wyatt Dean Lamb pleads guilty to murdering 2-year-old boy
A 27-year-old Wyoming man could spend the rest of his life behind bars for murdering his former girlfriend’s two-year-old son last year. Wyatt Dean Lamb pleaded guilty to count of second-degree murder in the death of a young man in Laramie County District Court on Wednesday Athian Rivera.
according to a report of the Wyoming Tribune EagleAttorney for Lamb, Public Defender for the State of Wyoming Diana Lozanoreached an agreement with special prosecutors overseeing the case in place of the district attorney Leigh Anne Manlove. Under the terms of the agreement, prosecutors agreed to recommend that Lamb serve between 45 and 60 years in prison on the murder charge.
Athian’s injured and beaten body was discovered wrapped in a sheet, blanket and five separate garbage bags, which were disposed of in the dumpster of an apartment complex near the toddler’s home.
During Wednesday’s trial, Lamb told the court he felt “incredible anger” when Athian threw a piece of food, which prompted him to force his hand over the toddler’s mouth Eagle reported. He reportedly claimed he was only trying to “faint” the child and did not intend for Athian to die.
Lamb also reportedly filed an Alford plea in a child abuse case. Under the terms of the deal, the parties agreed to recommend eight to 10 years in prison for child molestation charges, with the sentence following the murder conviction. An Alford plea is functionally equivalent to a guilty plea in that it results in a conviction but allows a defendant to maintain their innocence while admitting that the state has sufficient evidence to convict them in court.
Authorities initially charged Lamb with 10 counts of child molestation based on the litany of horrific injuries Athian sustained, but dismissed the remaining charges in exchange for his guilty plea.
As Law&Crime previously reported, a coroner’s report showed Athian suffered multiple abrasions and bruises to his head, back, chest, abdomen and arms. His thighs, groin and genitals had been burned, apparently with a butane gas lamp found in the home. Officially, the medical examiner determined that Athian’s cause of death was brain swelling resulting from blunt force trauma, lack of oxygen, or both.
Lamb also reportedly pleaded no objection to a strangulation count for a 2020 domestic violence incident involving Athian’s mother. Cassandra Orona.
Lamb had reportedly issued an arrest warrant for failing to show up after posting bail in the strangulation case and was barred from living in Orona’s home when he killed Athian in February 2021. He reportedly told the court that he had been unable to work because of the warrant and had been “isolating” at their home.
Prosecutors reportedly agreed to recommend Lamb serve eight to 10 years on strangulation charges, with that sentence to be served before and after the murder and child molestation sentences.
The sentencing recommendations agreed upon by the parties are non-binding and a judge will ultimately have the final say.
The special prosecutors in the case Michael Blonigen and Pat crankreportedly sent the following statement to the Eagle after the hearing.
“We sincerely hope that these pleas will begin to bring healing and grace to (Athian’s) mother and (Athian’s) family from the horrific events that took place on February 18-19, 2021. The pleas allow the family not to live again and be further hurt by Lamb’s murderous behavior and the trauma of a trial.”
Crank is a former Wyoming Attorney General; Blonigen is the former district attorney for Natrona County.
Lamb’s sentencing hearing was not scheduled Thursday morning.
[Image via Cheyenne Police Department]
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