A man who lives near the airport pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of aggravated assault by pointing a semi-automatic rifle at two Natrona County Sheriff's deputies in early April.

Michael Kegler also pleaded guilty to a related misdemeanor during a change of plea hearing before Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey.

In exchange for the pleas, Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen recommended Kegler receive a four-and-a-half year to six-year suspended prison sentence, be placed on five years of probation, and finish a nine-month felony offender program while staying at the Casper Re-entry Center.

The plea is a cold plea, meaning the agreement could be withdrawn and the case could go to trial if he breaks the law or violates the terms of his bond.

Forgey agreed to those terms. A sentencing date will be set later.

The case began at 9:45 p.m. April 6 when a sheriff's corporal and sergeant responded to a report of shots fired near the airport, according to court records.

Area residents told them the shots came from a house next door, but the house they referenced had its lights out.

The corporal had been driving slowing with the sergeant walking behind him, parked the car, exited, and followed the sergeant to Kegler's single-wide mobile home.
The corporal shined a light on the home but initially saw nothing.

After walking around a puddle, he shined the light again.

They saw Kegler on the front porch standing with his knees bent, shoulders squared, raising an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to his shoulder and pointing it directly at the sergeant 23 feet away. The sergeant and corporal recognized the stance as a tactical fighting position.

After "'I'm going to die'" flashed through his mind, the sergeant let loose a high-pitched scream, jumped aside, and yelled "gun," "gun," "gun."

The sergeant and corporal took cover behind vehicles in the yard, the sergeant yelled at Kegler to put the gun down and Kegler complied.

The officers called for help, and took Kegler into custody.

The rifle, with its safety set on "fire," had live rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. It also had a holographic sight set in the "on" position.

Kegler was intoxicated. Itzen said he had a blood alcohol content of 0.16 -- twice the legal limit -- six hours after he was taken into custody.