Kenneth Stone

Kenneth Stone

A jury trial for a Cody man who is facing a life sentence will begin this week.

Kenneth Stone has been charged with aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon while driving under the influence of alcohol and causing bodily injury. The felony carries a jail term of up to 20 years, but due to Stone’s having three prior felonies, the state is pursuing a life sentence in prison against him.

The case being brought against Stone stems from his alleged role in a North Fork car wreck in October 2020 that injured four other people.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Pence said Stone drifted into the westbound lane on U.S. 14-16-20 near the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park on the morning of Oct. 6 and collided with a 2020 Dodge Charger driven by a 29-year-old from Cincinnati, Ohio, who was traveling west around a left-hand corner. As the car rounded the corner, Stone’s eastbound 1997 Ford Ranger entered in their lane.

In his full investigation, Pence determined Stone was impaired by medication and alcohol while driving. Pence said Stone only blew a .02 – well below the legal limit – but that was three hours after the incident. Stone also admitted to taking sleeping pills and muscle relaxers in combination with a few beers the previous night.

Hot Springs County Judge Bobbi Overfield will preside over the trial. Jury selection took place on Monday with opening statements scheduled for Tuesday morning. The trial is scheduled to take five days, but Park County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jack Hatfield said the last expert witness is scheduled to take the stand late afternoon Wednesday. Hatfield said if Stone is found guilty for any of the charges he is facing, sentencing will begin immediately after the jury renders its decision.

Prosecuting Stone is coming with a steep cost for the county, amounting to at least $25,000, Hatfield said. There are two victims being flown in from Ohio and another two from California to testify.

One particular expert witness, Hatfield said, is charging the county $375 per hour for his entire stay in Cody, which includes time that he is sleeping and not providing testimony for the case.

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