GILLETTE, Wyo. — A Newcastle man that the state accused of threatening two women with a screwdriver pleaded guilty in court this morning to aggravated assault and battery.
According to the affidavit, the man, Blaze Loebs, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault as he was within striking range and threatened to use a screwdriver as a deadly weapon against two women who were looking for a dog on Jan. 28.
Loebs pleaded not guilty to the two counts on March 3.
Before retired District Court Judge W. Thomas Sullins this morning, Loebs changed his plea to guilty. Public Defense Attorney Donald Bellamy led the questioning of Loebs, who said that he was, at the time, living in a trailer belonging to a friend and that he approached and threatened the two individuals named in the second amended felony information with a drawn screwdriver, without the need to defend himself, property or another individual.
Sullins said the court accepted the plea and would defer sentencing to District Judge James Michael Causey, whom he was standing in for. Loebs will need to participate in a presentence investigation.
Loebs faces up to $10,000 in fines, up to 10 years in prison, or both. He remains held by a $10,000 commercial surety bond. If he were to be bonded out, he would need to complete check-ins with probation and parole.
Newcastle’s Christ the King Lutheran Church Rev. Robert Carr said in a Feb. 22 letter filed in District Court May 17 that he’s served as Loebs’s pastor since December 18, 2022, and that he recommends that Loebs participate in the Wyoming Central Rescue Mission in Casper instead of going to prison.
He [Loebs] came to me as a man desperately seeking to change the course of his life; not only for his sake, but also for the sake of his children,” Rev. Carr said. “He knew that if things did not change that it would not only destroy him, but his kids as well. I watched him struggle to fight through his separation from Meth as he would call me in the middle of the night to talk instead of calling his dealer. This was to me a clear sign that he wanted to change, and over the next month, I was more and more beginning to talk to a very different person.
Sadly, like many who have a long history of substance abuse and anger management issues, he rebounded from one substance to another, alcohol, and did so to terrible effect. I sincerely believe that Mr. Leobs wants to change, but he does not have the capacity to do that on his own. His issues are deep-seated, and it is my opinion that he will need professional help in doing so. While the punishment he deserves might be found within the prison system, the help he needs I believe is best found elsewhere.
Rev. Carr said the mission is well equipped and trained to deal with anger management and substance abuse issues that plague Loebs. The first two phases of the program would require Loebs to reside at the Mission, where he would attend classes to help him reacclimate to society as well as Biblical study, with room and board at no cost to him, for nine months. The program culminates with living outside the mission for three months.
“My priority is the wellbeing of Mr. Loebs as well as those whom he will encounter when he is back in society,” Rev. Carr said.