Casper Man, Facing Federal Gun Charge, Now Accused of Domestic Violence
A Casper man charged in federal court in October with being a felon in possession of a firearm has now been charged with domestic violence-related crimes in state court.
Patrick Charles Schutz, 39, was arrested at 3:31 a.m. Wednesday and booked into the Natrona County jail on charges of domestic battery and "apply pressure on throat or neck," or strangulation, according to the Natrona County jail roster.
Schutz heard those charges and a misdemeanor drug count during his initial appearance before Natrona County Circuit Court Brian Christensen on Wednesday.
Conviction of strangulation of a household member is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. Conviction of a misdemeanor count of domestic battery is punishable by up to six months in jail. The misdemeanor methamphetamine count is punishable by up to one year in jail.
Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Arrache recommended a $1,500 cash or surety bond for the methamphetamine count because it is a separate case from the other two charges.
Recommending bond for the domestic violence and strangulation charges was someone problematic because Schutz was out on bond for the federal felon in possession of a firearm charge, Arrache said.
"The judge reluctantly let him out on bond," she said.
She recommended, and Christensen agreed to set his bond at $30,000 cash or surety.
Since late October, Schutz had been out on bond after he was charged in U.S. District Court with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
He was arrested on Oct. 19 by Casper Police and agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives after an investigation found he owned several firearms.
The agencies executed the search warrant at his residence on South Washington Street where they found an Akkar Model 812 12-gauge shotgun and several other firearms, according to an ATFE agent affidavit.
On Oct. 21, Schutz heard the federal charge against him and he was initially detained.
A week later, he appeared for a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shickich.
During the hearing, Shickich said Schutz did not have a great plan for his release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Griswold said via videoconference that Schutz had been found with firearms, and the court should detain him to ensure his appearance in court and for the safety of the community.
Griswold added that Schutz also had a history of drug abuse, especially methamphetamine. During the Oct. 19 search of his house, police officers found a felony amount of methamphetamine, according to court documents.
But Federal Public Defender Tracy Hucke said Schutz would be willing to comply with release conditions, and that he could live with his son as a third-party custodian.
Shickich reluctantly agreed.
"I've decided to release you, your criminal record is outdated, you have employment," he said.
"I'm giving you enough rope to hang yourself," Shickich said. "If you violate the release plan, any deal is off the table."
Schickich released him on an unsecured $10,000 bond. Conditions of his release included not violating any laws, obtaining a substance abuse evaluation, submitting to searches of his residence and vehicle, maintaining employment of 35 hours per week, not possessing alcohol or controlled substances, and not possessing firearms.
Schutz said he would abide by the conditions.
On Nov. 17, the federal grand jury indicted him, and he pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Nov. 29.
The federal trial has been set for January 23.
If convicted, Schutz faces up to 15 years’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised probation after his release from custody, up to a $250,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment.