Judge finds probable cause to charge Wyoming man with murder

January 25, 2020 GMT

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming judge has found probable cause to pursue a first-degree murder charge against a Cheyenne man charged with killing his girlfriend in November.

A preliminary hearing was held Friday for Joseph Underwood, 45, in the Nov. 1 death of Angela Elizondo, 40, also of Cheyenne, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported.

Her body was found the next day in a creek bed just south of Cody.

Underwood told investigators that he had argued with Elizondo and she returned a ring he gave her. He said he blacked out and when he came to he was straddling her body, prosecutors said. He told officers he probably strangled her.

An autopsy found she died of strangulation and blunt force trauma to the face, witnesses said.

In the two months before the killing both Underwood and Elizondo contacted police complaining about each other. She told officers that if she ever went missing they needed to contact Underwood and look in the hills around Cody, witnesses told Larmie County Circuit Court Judge Denise Nau.

Within weeks of when Elizondo was killed, Underwood had contacted Cheyenne police and told officers if Elizondo didn’t leave him alone, she would wind up dead, witnesses said.

Defense attorney Brandon Booth said his client had a traumatic brain injury from a 1992 motorcycle crash and that he shot himself in the head during a standoff with police in 2014.

Nau bound the case over to District Court.

Underwood had been recently released from prison after being sentenced in 2015 for aggravated assault and battery against his ex-wife and for choking his then-15-year-old son, the Cody Enterprise has reported.