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Tyler Hill sentenced to 15–20 years for involuntary manslaughter in Ashley Bartel case

Tyler Hill (Photo from the Laramie County Sheriffs's Department)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — On July 9, Judge Robin Cooley sentenced Tyler Hill to 15–20 years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter of Ashley Bartel. Hill must also pay $5,272.45 in restitution, and he has received credit for 322 days served.

Assistant District Attorney Steven McManamen argued that Hill failed to render aid, did not call law enforcement and fled the scene in the disputed vehicle before ditching the weapon. “With people using guns in such a reckless way, people are going to die,” McManamen stated.

Bartel’s mother, Teresa Harnish, delivered an emotional victim impact statement. She spoke of the profound loss to her family, her son’s big heart and the trauma of reliving the experience in court. “This has shattered our lives beyond repair,” she said. “Ashley was a kind soul with a heart as big as the sky.”

Vivian Harnish, Bartel’s aunt, acknowledged Bartel’s faults but emphasized his efforts to improve. “Ashley faced his share of challenges,” she said. “His absence has left our family shattered.”

Defense Attorney Joe Bustos requested a continuance to allow Judge Cooley time to review a sentencing memorandum, but the request was denied. Bustos highlighted Hill’s lack of a criminal record, his cooperation with police and his environment as mitigating factors.

Patsy Navarro, Hill’s mother-in-law, spoke on his behalf, describing his kindness and his role as a father. “Tyler’s got a big heart,” she said. “What a wonderful father he turned out to be.”

Hill’s fiancée, Tatiana Navarro, and his mother, Rhonda Bryan, also spoke in his defense. “He and Ash were friends,” Tatiana Navarro said. “There is not one mean bone in his body.”

“Tyler was in an environment he should never have been in. … I believe in my heart he did not mean to,” Bryan said.

Judge Cooley addressed the senselessness of the incident before sentencing Hill. “We have a hole in both families that will not be filled at the end of this sentencing,” Cooley stated. “There is no violence in his background, which makes this all the more tragic.”

Case Background

Hill had entered a guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter on April 1, following a fatal shooting incident last August. Initially charged with second-degree murder, Hill’s plea deal had the potential for a 20-year sentence.

The Laramie County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call on Aug. 23, 2023, at Teal Lane in Burns. Deputies discovered Ashley Bartel deceased from a gunshot wound. Witnesses described a suspect fleeing in a red car, leading to Hill’s arrest after a coordinated law enforcement response, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Investigations revealed that Hill and Bartel were part of a communal living arrangement on Teal Lane. The conflict began over car keys, escalating to Hill firing a shot into the ground and then fatally shooting Bartel after a brief argument.

Bryan, living on the property and in a relationship with Bartel, recounted the events. An argument over Bartel’s vehicle escalated, and Hill drew a small black pistol. As they argued, the gun discharged, killing Bartel. The Laramie County Coroner’s Office confirmed Bartel’s cause of death as a gunshot wound to the head.