Torrington, Wyo. (Story by Denise Heilbrun-Ellis) June 9, 2020 — A 53-year-old Torrington man has completed a mental evaluation at the Wyoming State Hospital and has been deemed mentally fit to proceed with his court case in Eighth Judicial District Court.
Mack James Downey has been charged with three felony counts. Count I – aggravated burglary (felony); Count II – aggravated assault and battery (felony); and Count III – unlawful entry into structure/premises (felony).
According to court documents, on the early morning hours of Oct. 8, 2019, Goshen County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home invasion in progress. Deputies were informed that David and Gayle Johnson had fought off a person that had broken into their home.
They told the deputies that they were sleeping and heard a loud noise of shattered glass. Gayle said her husband went down to investigate. She heard yelling and went down to see what was going on. Gayle saw her husband and another man fighting, so she immediately called 911. Mrs. Johnson then noticed the intruder with the garden hoe she kept near the doorway for when she went to water. The intruder dropped the hoe and she picked it up, noticing her husband was bleeding profusely from the head.
She tried to push the man down with the hoe as her husband was fighting with him. David then saw an antique hammer he had on a cabinet and grabbed it, hitting the intruder with it.
As that was going on Gayle yelled at the man asking, “Who are you?”
The man responded, “Matt or Mack Downey.” After it seemed a long time she said, he left through the window.
She got the license plate and gave it to the dispatcher who was still on the phone. Gayle told officers she had never seen this man before.
The suspect fled the area. Officers tracked the license plate down to its owner, Mack Downey, and went to his residence in Hawk Springs, and arrested him. The Johnson’s were asked to come in for a photo lineup, and they both chose Downey as the intruder.
When asked by officers why he went there, he commented there were voices in his head telling him his son and daughter were there and being murdered.
Downey’s defense attorney Denny Harts, from Douglas, had requested that his mental state be evaluated, and Downey was sent in January to the Wyoming State Hospital. Downey has recently returned from there and is incarcerated at the Goshen County Detention Center. No bail is offered at this time.
A trial date has not been set yet.