GREEN RIVER — A Green River man changed his plea to guilty Wednesday afternoon for calling the Rock Springs Community Health Center and making death threats in January.
Wade Marin Prehn, 46, of Green River originally pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Sweetwater County Third District Court on Feb. 3 to the felony charge of terroristic threats.
As part of a plea agreement, Prehn changed his plea to guilty during a video hearing before Judge Suzannah Robinson on Feb. 24. He will be sentenced after a pre-sentence investigation is completed. Prehn also faces a misdemeanor charge in a separate case.
Under the agreement, Prehn would receive a suspended two- to three-year prison sentence and be placed on three years of supervised probation. The maximum penalty for terroristic threats is three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Prehn agreed with information read to him by Judge Robinson from court documents about a call he made around 6 p.m. on Jan. 20 to the Community Health Center on Commercial Way in Rock Springs. He admitted that the call was made by him.
The employee who answered said the caller refused to identify himself and at one point threatened to slaughter those at the clinic. She said the man was rude, hostile and cursing during the call. He wanted Medicaid information and said that they had better have it, and that he was getting ready to come there and “take them all down.” He then said, “I’m about to slaughter all of you.” When asked if that was a threat, the caller replied that it was a promise, and he was on his way over.
There were nine employees and two patients in the clinic at the time. A call was made to the Rock Springs Police Department. When officers arrived, they stood by while everyone left the clinic. Prehn agreed that the statements he made in the call terrified people at the clinic and caused a serious public inconvenience by requiring an evacuation.
He admitted to the charge of “threatening to commit a violent felony in reckless disregard of the risk of causing serious public inconvenience.” He said that the call was made from Green River.
Prehn said he had moved to Green River from Cheyenne in December to live with his girlfriend. On the day he made the threatening call, Prehn said he had just found out that his teenage son had committed suicide. He said that after talking to Saratoga police about his son’s suicide, he made other calls to the numbers of physicians and medical providers given to him during an emergency room visit. He said that he was very “frazzled” and “nasty on the phone” with all those he talked to. He apologized.
The defense said that even though Prehn’s behavior was spurred by tragic circumstances, Prehn knows that what he did was wrong, and he wants to take responsibility for his actions.
Judge Robinson agreed to release Prehn from the Sweetwater County Detention Center with bond lowered to “his own recognizance” in the case, based on the plea agreement, while he awaits sentencing.
The judge warned Prehn that if he doesn’t follow his bond conditions, his situation will be “precarious.” His bond could be forfeited, and he would likely remain in jail until his sentencing. In addition, the plea agreement could be rejected and the maximum sentence imposed.