Charles Richmond

Charles S. Richmond

CHEYENNE – A local man accused of killing a 41-year-old man outside a home on Belaire Avenue appeared Friday in Laramie County Circuit Court, facing a single count of first-degree murder.

Charles S. Richmond, 78, appeared over teleconference from the Laramie County jail two days after he was arrested in connection with killing John-Paul “J.P.” Birgenheier.

Newly filed court documents accuse Richmond of getting into a verbal and physical argument with Birgenheier and shooting him three times with a 12-gauge shotgun.

At the hearing, Laramie County Circuit Judge Denise Nau set Richmond’s bond at $100,000 cash, and set his preliminary hearing for Thursday. At the hearing, prosecutors will outline the evidence that led investigators to believe Richmond committed the crimes of which he is accused.

A probable cause statement included in the charges outlines much of that evidence. According to that document:

Cheyenne Police Department officers were called to a report of gunfire at 3338 Belaire Ave. around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

When officers arrived, they saw Birgenheier lying on the ground near a camper/trailer outside the home.

While officers were investigating, Richmond approached one of the officers and said he was sorry for shooting Birgenheier. Officers took him into custody and interviewed him at the police department.

Richmond told officers that Birgenheier stayed in a trailer outside the home and had access to the rest of the property, including the house.

Richmond said Birgenheier had been staying at the house for several years, and that Birgenheier was a meth user.

On Wednesday, the two got into an argument about a missing pipe and whether Birgenheier owed Richmond money for food, Richmond told investigators.

The argument got physical, and Birgenheier pushed Richmond down three times inside the house and threatened to hit him with a broken chair leg, Richmond said. Birgenheier then left the house.

“Richmond stated he was angry and not thinking well,” the investigator wrote. “He grabbed his shotgun and went outside to confront (Birgenheier) and tell him to leave the property.”

Richmond said Birgenheier charged at him, and Richmond shot him three times.

Katie Kull is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at kkull@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3122. Follow her on Twitter at @katiekull1.

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