Affidavit: Accused Cheyenne Murderer Threatened to Stab Victim in Neck
A 43-year-old Cheyenne woman charged with murder in the 2022 stabbing death of a Cheyenne man was overheard saying she was going to stab him in the neck, an affidavit says.
According to the Laramie County Sheriff's Office, deputies were called to the scene at 701 Mitchell Court shortly before 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 8, 2022, and arrived to find Jess Smith lying unconscious in a large pool of blood in the enclosed living room area with a stab wound on the left side of his neck.
The 58-year-old Smith was rushed to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
According to the eight-page affidavit, Daniel Salyards, one of the numerous people who lived in the house with Smith, told deputies that Rocsand Bocanegra was the one who stabbed Smith.
Bocanegra was located at King Soopers the following evening and taken into custody.
When questioned, Bocanegra said that she went to the house around 2 a.m. on Aug. 8, 2022, to confront Smith because he had left voicemails on her phone claiming she owed him money for landscaping work she had done for him, but she believed he owed her money.
While at the house, Bocanegra drank vodka and smoked methamphetamine with Noah Schultz and his girlfriend Angelina Kimball in the enclosed living room area where they lived, the affidavit says.
She also reportedly admitted to knocking and yelling outside of Smith's bedroom in an attempt to get him to come out, but he didn't so she went back to the enclosed living room area.
Bocanegra later reportedly began yelling loudly on the phone about Smith owing her money, which Salyards said woke him and Smith up because Smith eventually came out of his bedroom and went into the enclosed living room.
Shultz told a detective that as soon as Smith walked in, Bocanegra stood up from the couch and the two began "shoving" and yelling at each other.
Shultz said he looked away to control the barking dogs and when he looked back, the two were "wrestling on the floor" and Smith "was sitting on Rocsand" holding her down with his hands on her shoulders.
Bocanegra told a detective that she "panicked" because she couldn't get Smith off her, so she stabbed him with a "Mossy Oak boot knife" that she kept in a "case" in her sock.
Bocanegra then reportedly left the house, leaving her bloody hoodie under a storage container behind Town & County Supermarket Liquors and eventually ending up at the Loaf 'N Jug at 1610 S. Greeley Highway, where she discarded her shorts, socks, and bag in the dumpster.
"Rocsand said she discarded her clothing and purse because she typically just throws her clothes away since she can not wash them," the affidavit reads. "Rocsand repeatedly said she could not remember what happened to the knife or "case" after she stabbed Jess ... Neither the knife or sheath have been located at this time."
According to a Laramie County booking sheet, Bocanegra was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder at 12:20 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2022, but, because former Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Grant Manlove declined to charge her, she was released from jail after her 72-hour hold was up.
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"Wyoming's self-defense statute (6-2-602) makes the case, at least at this point, not something that can be charged," Manlove said in an Aug. 12, 2022, declination letter to Detective Abraham Maljian.
Because there is no statute of limitations under Wyoming law, Manlove encouraged Maljian to continue investigating the case, saying, "there may be additional evidence that proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Ms. Bocanegra was not acting in self defense and therefore could be charged."
That additional evidence came on Sept. 6, 2022, when Maljian received a statement written by Bridget Copley, who wrote that she was at 711 E. Allison Road in the early morning hours of Aug. 8 and overheard Bocanegra say "she does not work for cigarettes and vodka and she is going to stab 'him' in the neck if he touches her or tries to touch her."
On Nov. 8, 2022, Maljian spoke to Copley and Aubrey Mason, who lives at 711 E. Allison Road, which is about a seven-minute walk from 701 Mitchell Court.
Maljian says Mason told him that she kicked Bocanegra out of the house in the early morning hours of Aug. 8, 2022, because she was intoxicated and "being mouthy" and "belligerent."
Mason said Bocanegra had stayed at the house for approximately two nights before she kicked her out.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, the sheriff's office issued a news release saying Bocanegra had been arrested for first-degree murder.
"This arrest was made in conjunction with the Laramie County District Attorney's Office," the agency said.
Bocanegra is currently being held in the Laramie County jail without bond. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23, 2023, at 2 p.m.
If convicted, Bocanegra could face life in prison or death.