Trial Begins For Laramie Man Accused Of Pipe Bomb Murder Conspiracy
The trial began today for a Laramie man accused of conspiring to kill a Cheyenne man with a pipe bomb.
Ryan Alexander Brown, 40, faces a charge of Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the First Degree.
Prosecutors say that Brown plotted with Eric Farrar of Cheyenne and William Ferrill of Rock River to kill John Squires, who Brown thought had an affair with his wife.
Prosecutors say that Brown’s teenage stepdaughter new about the plan and reported it to her mother on October 28, 2014 after hearing a conversation indicating that the killing would take place that night.
Defense Attorney Vaughn Neubauer told the jury in opening statements that Brown never planned to hurt anyone. He said that the stepdaughter was upset after getting in trouble, and that she embellished the story when she spoke to her mother.
Neubauer said that Brown was actually a victim whose house was burned down by Eric Farrar. Neubauer said that Farrar and Ferrill both had guns that were removed from Brown’s home in Arlington before it was lit on fire in May 2014. He said the men told police that Brown had planned the murder in order to take the spotlight off themselves.
Detective Sergeant Robert Terry and Sergeant Shawn Davis with the Laramie Police Department both testified that they became aware of the alleged plot after Brown’s stepdaughter reported it to her mother, who worked as a police dispatcher. They detailed how the investigation uncovered a partially complete pipe bomb in the garage of the residence in which Brown lived. The device was a pipe with caps on the end, a hole drilled into it, and a spark plug inserted into the pipe.
A video of an interview of Brown by Sergeant Davis was also shown in court. In it, Brown denied having planned to harm Squires. He said he had learned about the affair long before, and that he and his wife were working on their marriage. He admitted to making the pipe bomb, but stated that it had been built when he lived in Arlington and that he was going to use it to break up rock on the property.
The stepdaughter, who is now 15-years-old, testified that Brown became increasingly upset at Squires after learning of the affair, and that Brown often talked about hurting the man. She said that she knew about several plans to kill Squires and that she became worried that the men would follow through with the bomb plan once she heard the conversation.
She said she had seen Brown testing the pipe bomb to see if the spark plug would let off a spark when it was connected to a vehicle. She said that Brown told her he planned to kill Squires with the bomb.
Additionally, she testified that she knew Ryan Brown had plotted with Eric Farrar to burn down their house in Arlington. She said that they planned the fire to collect insurance money.
Neubauer questioned the stepdaughter, asking her why she never reported the arson if she knew what happened. He asked why, even after her dogs had died in the fire, she had not reported the crime when it was investigated. She said that she was afraid to report the crime.
The stepdaughter will continue testimony when court resumes in the morning.
Both Ferrill and Farrar have pleaded guilty to lesser charges and await sentencing.
If convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the First Degree, Brown faces a penalty of life imprisonment or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.