Crime spree results in 20- to 25-year sentence
POWELL (WNE) — For causing what a judge described as “damage, trauma and, for lack of a better term, terror throughout the community” in 2020, a Montana man has been ordered to serve 20 to 25 years in a Wyoming prison.
Former Powell resident Bernabe Mena accepted the prison term during a Tuesday afternoon hearing in Park County District Court, pleading guilty to four felony and one misdemeanor charge. The counts stemmed from a March 2020 crime spree in which Mena shot a home, burglarized one vehicle and stole another in Cody, then led Powell police on a high-speed chase that ended only when he smashed into an officer’s patrol car. The 34-year-old testified that he was under the influence of methamphetamine and heroin at the time.
Given the violent nature of the crimes and Mena’s prior criminal convictions, Deputy Park County Attorney Jack Hatfield had threatened to seek a sentence of life in prison. However, he and the defendant’s legal team eventually settled on the 20- to 25-year term and an agreement for Mena to pay $28,356.85 in restitution for the damage he caused.
District Court Judge Bill Simpson accepted the deal with some reluctance — saying Mena could have “easily” faced a life sentence — and opted to tack on $125,000 in fines.
While acknowledging the defendant may never be able to pay that sum, “I think it’s important that a message be sent that what you did and the circumstances of what was wreaked upon this county is inexcusable,” Simpson said Tuesday.