CHEYENNE – A Cheyenne man was found guilty of second-degree murder by a Laramie County jury Thursday after fatally shooting another man following an argument over a marijuana pipe.

Charles “Charlie” Richmond, 78, was accused of shooting John Paul “J.P.” Birgenheier three times with a shotgun after a Dec. 5, 2018, argument outside a home on Belaire Avenue.

Richmond was originally charged with first-degree murder. Prior to deliberations, the jury was told in a 31-part criminal pattern jury instruction document they could consider second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter in their discussions if they found Richmond not guilty of the more serious crime.

During witness testimony, Laramie County assistant district attorneys had tried to prove to the jury that Richmond had time to think and plan the murder after the two men had argued, while defense attorneys said Richmond shot Birgenheier in self-defense.

Wyoming statute defines second-degree murder as a killing that is committed "purposely and maliciously, but without premeditation."

The full story will appear in Friday's Wyoming Tribune Eagle and here at

Steve Knight is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's local government reporter. He can be reached at 307-633-3182 or

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