- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - A special prosecutor reviewing whether former Campbell County Sheriff Bill Pownall improperly told a deputy to reduce a drinking-and-driving charge against Pownall’s son has resigned.

Carbon County Attorney Cal Rerucha resigned in a Jan. 15 letter to Campbell County commissioners in which he wrote that the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation refuses to perform a complete investigation into the matter.

“Therefore, I am unable to determine what, if any, criminal charges are appropriate,” wrote Rerucha, who as Albany County attorney prosecuted the killers of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in the late 1990s.

The DCI investigated an allegation that Pownall pressured deputies to drop a drunken-driving charge against his 23-year-old son, Seth Pownall. The investigation prompted Campbell County commissioners to ask Gov. Matt Mead to seek to remove Bill Pownall as sheriff.

Before that could happen, Pownall resigned. His last day was Dec. 1. Pownall now is serving in the Wyoming House of Representatives after running unopposed for the seat in November.

DCI officials declined to comment, the Gillette News-Record reports (https://bit.ly/1CD0fma ).

“Certainly I was sorry I couldn’t be of more service as special prosecutor, but I think it was in everybody’s best interest I just resign,” Rerucha said Wednesday.

Jeani Stone, who has stepped aside as Campbell County attorney since the matter became public knowledge but continues to work in the county attorney’s office, said prosecutors would try to find another special prosecutor.

County commissioners said they still wanted the matter resolved.

“I don’t believe it will be a forgotten deal and swept under the rug,” Commission Chairman Matt Avery said. “There is a delay in the whole thing right now for sure, (but) I believe it needs to go ahead.”

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Information from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record, https://www.gillettenewsrecord.com

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