District Court Judge Steven Cranfill sentenced the former Powell resident on Wednesday to a 90- to 100-year prison term for robbing the restaurant employees and qualifying as a “habitual criminal” under state law. Cranfill had previously …
Technically, Richard Gordon Bloomer received a reduced sentence last week for his 2002 robbery of two teenage employees of the Cody Burger King.Realistically, the end result will almost certainly be the same — Bloomer will spend the rest of his life in prison.
District Court Judge Steven Cranfill sentenced the former Powell resident on Wednesday to a 90- to 100-year prison term for robbing the restaurant employees and qualifying as a “habitual criminal” under state law. Cranfill had previously sentenced Bloomer to two consecutive terms of life in prison for the robbery, but finding an error, the Wyoming Supreme Court overturned that sentence in June and ordered a reduction.
Bloomer, who is 45, is currently serving 28 to 36 years for two instances of delivering methamphetamine in Park County. When that sentence is complete — potentially when he's 70 — Bloomer will begin serving the 90 to 100 years for the robbery.
Cranfill's sentence, requested by Deputy Park County Attorney Sam Krone, was the maximum afforded by state's habitual criminal statute.
In arguing for the maximum sentence, Krone said Bloomer had “one of the worst criminal histories we've seen,” with eight felonies.
“He's spanned the entire spectrum of criminal actions — and that's just his felony convictions,” Krone said, adding, “He's destroyed many lives, your honor.”
A Park County jury convicted Bloomer of aggravated assault and armed robbery in January 2009, finding he was the masked man who held up then 16-year-old Ashlee Alexander and 19-year-old Joel “Danny” Clymore as they attempted to make the nightly Burger King deposit at Cody's Pinnacle Bank.
At the 2009 trial, the victims testified that the robber had pointed a real-looking gun at them, took the money bags and told them if they moved he would “blow their f—king heads off.”
Ratted out by the getaway driver and a co-worker, Bloomer was found guilty of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault; Krone called the crimes “violent felonies that changed the lives of those children forever.”
Alexander submitted a letter, and her father addressed the court, asking that Bloomer receive the maximum.
Senior assistant counsel Eric Alden, of the state public defender's office, asked for the minimum sentence. Alden noted the convictions were Bloomer's first violent felonies, and that they actually occurred before the other two felonies that led to him being charged as a habitual offender.
“We do not see a man spiraling worse and worse, and that is the purpose of the habitual offender statute,” Alden said.
Alden said the case was “about as minimal a habitual offender case as any court will ever see,” noting that other habitual offender cases around the state have involved, for example, a string of armed robberies.
He noted that the gun used in the robbery was reported by Bloomer's accomplices to have been a pellet gun.
“Of the many many violent crimes that could have qualified for this, a robbery with essentially a toy gun is probably about the least,” Alden said.
Alden argued for 10 to 15 years on each count and asked they be concurrent to each other and the sentences he's already serving for delivering meth — essentially asking that Bloomer serve no additional time for the robbery.
“I think that Mr. Bloomer is already deterred from any further criminal activity from the sentences he is currently serving,” Alden said.
Cranfill rejected those arguments, saying he found a victim impact statement submitted by Alexander to be powerful.
“It may have been a toy gun but it was a real gun to the victims,” the judge added, before sentencing Bloomer to the maximum of to 90 to 100 years.
Bloomer did not address the court. Alden said he had advised Bloomer not to speak because a petition asking the United States Supreme Court to review his conviction is pending. That petition is based on the instructions issued in the case, which, Alden said, were embarrassing in how poorly they failed to communicate the presumption of innocence.
It is unlikely the high court will hear the case, given how few cases it accepts each year from state courts; the Wyoming Supreme Court found the evidence to convict Bloomer was “substantial” and that there was no evidence the jury instructions would have changed the jury's verdict.
After the pronouncement of the sentence and Cranfill's departure from the courtroom, Alden put his arm around Bloomer and said, “I'm sorry.”
“What are they going to do with a real crime?” Alden facetiously asked a Tribune reporter after the hearing. He clarified that the robbery was a real crime, but that other criminals with histories of rape and armed robbery have received less than the maximum sentence.
“If a person committed three murders, that's the most they could have gotten (under the habitual criminal statute),” Alden said.
To be charged as a habitual criminal, an offender must have at least two previous felony convictions, with the current offense being a violent felony.
For those with two previous convictions, state law requires a sentence of 10 to 50 years in prison. If the criminal has three previous convictions, they must receive a sentence of life in prison.
At the conclusion of the 2009 trial on the robbery charges, the jury was presented with evidence of Bloomer's prior convictions and found Bloomer was a habitual offender with three prior felonies — two counts of possessing meth with intent to deliver in Park County and a Montana forgery conviction for passing fake bills.
Following the guidelines for an offender with three prior convictions, Cranfill sentenced Bloomer to two terms of life in prison.
However, since the two meth convictions came from one trial, they counted as only one conviction under the statute. On appeal, the Wyoming Supreme Court ordered that Bloomer be re-sentenced.
The situation could have been avoided altogether — as Bloomer had another three prior felonies from Florida that were never presented to the jury.
Krone said the county attorney's office was so confident the drug counts would qualify as two separate felonies, it felt no need to go through the somewhat costly process of getting documentation from Florida of Bloomer's previous three felonies.