Riverton Man Allegedly Murdered Roommate With Hammer, Victim Identified
A man found dead in his Riverton home Sunday morning was allegedly beaten to death with a hammer by a man he reportedly kicked out of his basement late last week.
Florin Brandon Wyatt, 27, is accused of killing 56-year-old Keith Stephenson in Stephenson's home early Friday morning. His bond was set at $1 million dollars.
Wyatt is charged with second-degree murder and felony theft. He could spend 30 years to life plus ten years in prison if convicted on both counts.
Charging papers filed Monday in Fremont County Circuit Court say police were called to Stephenson's home at 905 West Park Avenue at about 10:45 a.m. Sunday after a man found Stephenson's body.
The man told police he normally speaks with Stephenson every morning, but hadn't heard from him in three or four days. So, he went to check on him.
According to his statement to police, the man found Stephenson's body face-down, covered on the floor in the garage. Stephenson's silver Jeep Patriot was missing, as was his wallet.
Police found blood on the kitchen floor and living room floor, as well as "significant" blood spatter on the floor and walls in the living room. It also appeared that someone had tried to clean or wipe the blood on the living room floor, court documents say.
Officers also noted directional blood spatter in the living room and several areas of blood that led from the living room to where the body was located, according to the affidavit. Some of the blood appeared to have been smeared as the body was dragged from inside the residence, down the stairs and into the garage.
Police reportedly saw numerous deep lacerations to the left side, back and top of Stephenson's head.
Wyatt was last seen at Stephenson's home on Friday. Police issued an 'attempt to locate' notice to other law enforcement agencies and learned that Glenrock Police had contacted Wyatt for fraudulently using Stephenson's credit card on Saturday.
Pine Bluffs Police officers, Laramie County Sheriff's deputies and Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers found Wyatt in Stephenson's Jeep in Pine Bluffs on Saturday. He was arrested and officers contacted the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
DCI special agents secured the Jeep at the DEA Drug Task Force Office in Cheyenne on Saturday and later interviewed Wyatt at the Combined Laboratories Building.
Wyatt allegedly told the agents he and Stephenson had started arguing about the Denver Broncos late Thursday. Wyatt said that about 90 minutes into the argument, he got a blue-handled claw hammer out of the basement and set it aside so he could "break stuff with it" after Stephenson "pissed [Wyatt] off."
Stephenson eventually went to bed.
Friday morning at about 6 a.m., Stephenson emerged from his bedroom and asked Wyatt, "What are you still doing here?"
Wyatt told agents Stephenson then came "to get" him and tried to hit him. That's when Wyatt says he "whacked" Stephenson in the forehead with the hammer one time.
Stephenson reportedly tried to hit Wyatt again. Wyatt reportedly told agents he used the hammer to hit Stephenson in the left side of his head and "kept beating him until he was dead."
Wyatt then tried to clean up the scene, the affidavit says.
After allegedly killing Stephenson, Wyatt took Stephenson's Jeep. Wyatt reportedly told officers he was headed for Sydney, Neb. but stopped in Pine Bluffs to sleep.
Wyatt reportedly planned on returning to his hometown of Bastrop, La.
After the interview, Wyatt was booked into the Laramie County Detention Center.
Special agents went to Stephenson's home and found a claw hammer with a blue handle that reportedly had dried blood, hair and skin fragments on it, according to the affidavit.
The hammer was found in an empty box in the northwest bedroom in the basement, which authorities believe was Wyatt's bedroom.
Wyatt is still being held in the Laramie County Detention Center.