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Grand jury charges man with first-degree murder

By Sarah Elmquist Squires
Lander Journal
Via- Wyoming News Exchange

LANDER — On February 16 on a $1,250 bond, Kevin Joseph Mendibles left the Fremont County Detention Center after pleading guilty to a bloody Lander domestic assault. 

Nine days later, prosecutors allege, he murdered Inez Whiteman on the Wind River Reservation. 

Mendibles has been indicted by a grand jury on a charge of first-degree murder in Whiteman’s February 25 death. She was reportedly stabbed to death. 

Lander police were called to a residence on January 13 on a report of a domestic assault. 

When Officer Casey Tadewald arrived, he could hear a man yelling obscenities and a woman calling for help. He found the door unlocked and entered due to the nature of the call, drew his Taser, and demanded the occupants to show themselves. 

Mendibles stuck his head out of a doorway, and when ordered to show his hands, the officer saw they were covered in blood. Tadewald cuffed him and noticed the victim sitting on the toilet in the bathroom with a large amount of blood on her face, hands, and clothes, and a laceration near her eye. 

The victim told the officer that Mendibles “was going to kill [her]” and indicated he had struck her in the face. 

Mendible was arrested and charged with domestic battery. 

By January 31, Mendible had discovered that his nephew Jeffrey Headley had been killed – struck in a fatal hit and run while walking on Read Crow Lane toward his residence on January 29. Mendible wrote to Judge Daniel Stebner that day requesting a furlough from jail to attend Headley’s wake and funeral on January 31 and February 1, writing that his nephew was like 

a brother to him, and that his family needed his help for the funeral. 

“He was very close to me and [I] would very much appreciate it if you the judge would help me to get to my family please,” he wrote. 

Stebner denied the requested furlough. 

On February 9, Mendibles amended his plea in the domestic battery case to guilty, which was accepted by the court on February 16 and he was released on $1,250 bond that day. 

By February 22, Mendibles had missed a court appearance, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. 

Three days later, Inez Whiteman was dead. 

Because the homicide occurred on the Wind River Reservation, Mendibles was charged in federal court. 

The court filing does not include an affidavit outlining the allegations; instead, a federal grand jury determined he “did willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with premeditation and malice aforethought unlawfully kill [Whiteman] by beating and stabbing,” and charged him with first-degree murder on May 16.


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