Riverton man charged with August 8 murder set to rely on insanity defense

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

    (St. Stephens, WY) – A notice of intent to rely on the insanity defense has been filed for Riverton man Burdick Seminole Sr., who faces three felony charges for the August 8, 2023 murder of Michael Standing Elk, according to federal Court documents filed on January 5, 2024.

    Seminole was charged with first-degree murder; using, carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and causing death with a firearm during a crime of violence.


    He faces a maximum sentence of mandatory life imprisonment and up to $750,000 in fines.

    Seminole was ordered to be detained at a December 22 detention hearing/preliminary examination, and a warrant for his arrest/detainment was ultimately issued on January 9.

    Court documents state that Seminole “must be detained pending trial” because the Government has proven:

    • “By clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community”
    • “By a preponderance of evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance as required”

    And that Seminole:

    • is “subject to lengthy period of incarceration if convicted”
    • has a “history of violence or use of weapons”
    • has a “history of alcohol or substance abuse”
    • has “prior failure to appear in court as ordered”

    Following the December 22 hearing, non-public motions for “Expert Service” and a “Medical/Mental/Competency Exam” were filed on Seminole’s behalf, as was a notice of intent to rely on the insanity defense, filed on January 5.

    The notice states that Seminole, by and through his attorney Eric J. Palen, “hereby provides notice to the Government and the Court that he intends to rely upon an insanity defense and would request the defendant be examined under 18 U.S.C. § 4242.”

    The Court went on to grant the motion for Expert Services, and also ordered for competency and sanity examinations/determinations, according to Court documents filed on January 5 and January 8.


    No further proceedings have been set at this time, but County 10 will continue to provide updates on this case, which can be viewed here.


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