- Associated Press - Friday, December 1, 2017

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempting to kill his wife with a hatchet in 2015.

Terry Schmuck was sentenced for attempted second-degree murder last year and appealed to the state’s highest court, claiming the jury during his trial was given improper instructions, The Riverton Ranger reported .

In Schmuck’s appeal, his attorneys relied on precedent set in February when the state Supreme Court ruled on a jury instruction dispute, overturning a murder conviction.

For the first-degree murder trial of Jeremiah Shull, the court ruled that structural errors found in the jury instructions called for a new trial regardless of whether the instructions had prejudiced the case.

The court ruled Thursday that the jury in Schmuck’s case was not required to disprove the particular legal defense that he claimed in order to convict. The ruling stated that Schmuck’s verdict would have unlikely been altered if the jury instructions had followed the February precedent.

Authorities said Schmuck went to his wife’s home in May 2015, cut her telephone wires and then struck her on the head with a hatchet. Prosecutors said Schmuck was angry with his wife because she had served him with divorce papers. She survived attack, but the blow fractured her skull.


Information from: The (Riverton, Wyo.) Ranger, http://www.dailyranger.com

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