Riverton inmate faces aggravated assault and battery charges

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All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

(Riverton, WY) – James Walter Layton, 49, of Riverton, faces a felony charge for aggravated assault and battery which resulted in facial reconstruction surgery for the victim, which happened last May.

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If convicted of this felony offense, Layton could see up to 10 years prison time.

Layton waived the preliminary hearing on March 29, 2021, and the case will now move on to District Court with an arraignment date to be determined.

On the night of May 6, 2020, Riverton Police Department was advised by dispatch that an inmate assault had occurred at the Wyoming Honor Farm.

Upon arriving at the scene, RPD learned the male victim of the alleged assault had reported to the nurse station to tend to wounds sustained during the altercation, which included “a swollen left eye, a laceration behind the left ear, and blood around his nose and mouth.”

Police documents reveal that when video surveillance was viewed, there appeared to be an argument between the victim and Layton in one of the dorm hallways. The victim walked into his assigned dorm, and Layton followed. Several inmates then gathered around the door to the room and looked in, then dispersed. Several minutes went by, at which point Layton could be seen leaving the room, followed by the victim moments later when he reported to the nurse.

According to Layton, the incident occurred because he had been told by the victim to quiet down while he and a few inmates were playing cards, and he was offended that the request was directed at him.

Layton said he then followed the victim into his room where they began shoving each other, and then admits to hitting the victim to the ground, where he continued to punch him until he was stopped by a fellow inmate.

According to that inmate’s witness report, he “heard a loud thud” from the shared wall of their cells and went to investigate. He found Layton “in his own world,” hitting the unconscious victim repeatedly. The witness then had to physically grab Layton while pleading “He’s done! He’s out!” to get him to stop hitting the victim.

After the alleged altercation, the victim ultimately had to be sent to a hospital in Colorado to receive facial reconstruction surgery due to the extensive injuries sustained from the assault, which included “fractures to his skull, a fractured left eye orbital, and a broken jaw.”

To follow County 10’s coverage of this case as it progresses, click here.

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