Ski instructor sentenced for child sexual exploitation Michael Adams, 61, pleaded guilty to distributing videos of prepubescent boys.

Trefonas said in the hearing that working with clients like Adams is why she became a public defender and reminded everyone of the human being behind the conviction.

“Michael Adams is not his worst secrets — that’s not who he is as a human being,” Trefonas said. “While at the jail he’s helped several folks learn English, access technology and write.”

In court Adams stated that he believes he can be rehabilitated and that he hopes to return to the community a better person.

“I apologize to the court for having been a part of that victimization process and perpetration,” Adams said. “I’m embarrassed by what could be called a Jekyll and Hyde dichotomy. It may have erupted from events in the distant past.”

Owens said she believes that Adams will receive the treatment he needs, and he’s ready for the hard work ahead of him.

“I hope that when you return to the community that you are that person you hope others are proud to meet,” Owens said. “If there’s any defendant that’s come before this court that seems willing to do the work, that’s you.”


Masseuse gets 3 to 5 years for sex assault Man fled abroad after posting bail; two years later he was extradited and pled no contest.

ollowing a contested sentencing hearing Tuesday that spanned over three hours, a former masseuse, who pleaded no contest to felony sexual assault, received three to five years in prison.

Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens acknowledged that the wide difference in arguments gave her wide latitude in determining how Vladimir Stanciu, 30, would be punished.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mackenzie Cole asked Owens to impose the maximum sentence of 10 to 12 years, while Stanciu’s attorney, Elisabeth Trefonas, asked for a split sentence in which Stanciu would serve another year in Teton County Jail before receiving probation.

Cody woman convicted of murder for role in toddler’s death

POWELL — A jury convicted a Cody woman of first-degree murder last week, finding that she caused the death of a toddler in 2021 by failing to seek life-saving care for the girl. Carolyn Aune, 30, now faces a life sentence.

Aune took the witness stand in Park County District Court on April 26, a day before the jury’s decision, telling jurors she was not responsible for 2-year-old Paisleigh Williams’ death. Aune said it was Moshe Williams, Paisleigh’s father and Aune’s then-boyfriend, who abused the toddler by stomping on her stomach the day before she died.

Aune acknowledged that she didn’t help Paisleigh after the incident, but said that was because she hadn’t realized how seriously the child was injured.


#stopdomesticviolence #freeaune

Knife assailant gets 8 to 10 years in state pen Riley Sills, 42, sentenced for 2020 knife attack on his neighbor.

Throughout the sentencing, Sills and his public defender, Elisabeth Trefonas, said he barely remembered the incident or ensuing law enforcement standoff. They argued that Sills was experiencing a psychotic break that lasted months after the stabbing….

Sills spent 754 days in jail, 80% of that in solitary, and you don’t feel very human,” Trefonas said in court. “When you’re having a psychotic episode, being in solitary is a frightening experience. Our jail is meant to be a temporary holding facility; it’s not meant for over two years of detention.”

After apologizing directly to the victim, who sat in the jury box but declined to give a statement, Sills stated in court that he felt like a broken shell of a man.


Alleged sexual assault case dismissed Public defender cites a lack of evidence.

“And I don’t believe there was sufficient evidence to have charged it in the first place.” —Elisabeth Trefonas, Teton County public defender

Teton County and Prosecuting Attorney Erin Weisman asked that an August sexual assault case be dismissed, a request that Judge Melissa Owens granted Nov. 8 in Teton County District Court.

Hafid Herrera, 21, was facing charges of sexual assault in the first degree after a witness reported seeing an encounter that did not look consensual around 3 a.m. in the Snake River Brewing parking lot.

The charge was filed Aug. 29, a little over a week after the alleged assault, in Teton County Circuit Court, and the case was bound over to District Court on Sept. 15.

When the woman was interviewed at 4 p.m. the next day, she could not recall what happened and had little recollection of how she got home.


Court saga ends for man charged with meth possession Character witnesses emphasize local business owner’s kindness and resilience.

A seven-month saga came to a close for a Jackson man charged with possession of methamphetamine during a hearing Thursday in Teton County District Court.

During the hearing, six witnesses testified to the kind character of local business owner William “Ian” Whipple, 53, who signed a June 30 plea agreement pleading no contest to two charges, both felony possession of a controlled substance.

Judge Marvin Tyler of the 9th Judicial District, Sublette County, sided with Whipple’s public defender, Elisabeth Trefonas, sentencing Whipple to three years of supervised probation.


Juvenile Justice and Process Questioned

18-year-old flees after child sexual abuse charges: Arrest warrant was issued after defendant failed to appear at a June 17 hearing.

“I’ve had multiple agencies ask me how our county prosecutor’s office treats juveniles and juveniles of color and, to be honest, I don’t know,” Trefonas said. “No one knows but them how they weigh or apply the factors they are required by law to consider.”


Former brewery employee charged with sexual assault Snake River Brewing says it’s cooperating with investigation of former employee.

Hafid Herrera, 21, is facing charges of sexual assault in the first degree after a witness reported seeing him assault a woman in the Snake River Brewing parking lot.

The charge was filed Aug. 29, a little over a week after the alleged assault, in Teton County Circuit Court, and the case was bound over Sept. 15 to District Court.

Herrera has pleaded not guilty, according to Teton County Public Defender Elisabeth Trefonas.



The Quiet Force


In many American ski towns, the tourism and services economies would grind to a halt without their Latino populations. In a place like Jackson, Wyoming, the Latino community is a mix of documented immigrants and undocumented workers – many of whom are facing increasing risk of deportation under the current Presidential Administration, often resulting in family separation.

Members of the Latino community ski alongside us, live next door, and participate in the same kids programs and school classes. They build homes and hotels, landscape, paint, clean sheets and towels, stock groceries, and cook in the restaurants we frequent. They keep the machine humming. Yet, we barely notice them.

The documentary film, The Quiet Force, investigates the human and economic impact of hispanic immigrants living in ski towns— specifically, Mammoth, Vail, and Jackson—where they comprise 30 percent (or more) of the local population.

Deportation leads to case’s odd outcome

Criminal case is dismissed after prosecution is deemed impossible.

A case unlike any other in Teton County was dismissed Tuesday morning after the defendant’s attorney told the court the United States government can’t have its cake and eat it, too.

After being arrested in October 2016 for having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, Miguel Cortes Hernandez was ordered by a federal judge to “voluntarily self-deport” to Mexico.

Because he followed federal orders, Hernandez violated a Wyoming district judge’s order: failing to appear on the count of second-degree abuse of a minor.

» See JH News & Guide’s full article