Man convicted of toddler’s death files appeal

Jesse J. Hartley

EVANSTON — The Bridger Valley man convicted last spring of first-degree murder in the 2018 death of 2-year-old Brandon Green has filed an appeal with the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Jesse J. Hartley, through his attorney Eric Phillips, has requested the conviction be overturned and remanded back to Third District Court for a new trial.

Following a several-day trial in May of this year, a jury found Hartley guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse and he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Arguments in the case hinged, in part, on whether Hartley recklessly caused Green’s death through inflicting injuries that a reasonable person should have known could result in death. Testimony in the case included detailed descriptions of Green’s extensive and severe traumatic brain and other injuries, given by both pediatrician Dr. Bird Gilmartin, the physician who treated Green in the emergency room, and medical examiner Dr. Thomas Bennett, who conducted the post-mortem examination.

During trial, Uinta County Attorney Loretta Howieson-Kallas said the State was not claiming Hartley set out to kill Green on the date of his death, but rather that in the act of perpetrating aggravated child abuse Hartley recklessly inflicted injuries severe enough to kill the child.

In the appellant brief led with the Wyoming Supreme Court on Friday, Nov. 1, Phillips asserts the jury should have been given instructions to allow them to consider lesser charges besides the first-degree murder charge, including criminally negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter.

The brief states Hartley’s attorney during the trail, public defender Kent Brown, proposed jury instructions that included both criminally negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter, but Judge Joseph Bluemel denied both.

The State will now have to file a response to the appeal.


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