Valley man pleads guilty to federal gun charge

EVANSTON — A Bridger Valley man who appeared in Third District Court in early April on charges of aggravated assault and battery and witness intimidation, among other charges, has been indicted on federal charges of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Matthew J. Olson appeared in United States District Court of Wyoming on Wednesday, June 2, where he pleaded guilty to the one count in the federal indictment.

According to the federal complaint, Olson was convicted of two felony charges of burglary and wrongful taking or disposing of property in January 2016 and had lost the right to possess a firearm. In December of 2020, however, Olson was in possession of a Ruger Model Security-9 9-mm when he allegedly led law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase after initially being stopped by Uinta County Sheriff’s Deputy Kerby Barker.

At the time of the chase, on Christmas day, Olson had been in the company of a woman who had an active protection order against him related to previous charges of domestic violence that had occurred in the spring of 2020. That woman had gotten out of the vehicle prior to Olson fleeing the scene and the next day visited the sheriff’s office in Evanston to report an event that had allegedly occurred a couple of days prior.

The woman told officers that Olson had come to her home on Dec. 23, 2020, and the two had been arguing about the protection order and the ongoing domestic violence case. She said she felt as though she had to pretend to “be on his side” in order to protect herself, her child and other family members. According to her report, she and Olson had left her home, with her child, and Olson had driven them all to a rural location on a county road, where he had allegedly forced her out of the car and then fired a gun next to her head. When interviewed, the woman’s child had substantially confirmed her report.

The gun Olson allegedly fired on Dec. 23 was not the same weapon found in the car following the Christmas day chase.

Olson was charged with eluding, careless driving and violating a protection order for the Christmas day incident, along with aggravated assault and battery and witness intimidation stemming from the Dec. 23 events the woman reported, in addition to the previous domestic violence charges.

All county charges have been stayed pending resolution of the federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing in that case has been scheduled for Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court in Casper.



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