Cody Hess pleads not guilty to voluntary manslaughter

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Cheyenne, Wyo. - A Cheyenne man charged with shooting and killing his roommate has pleaded not guilty to voluntary manslaughter.

Cody Hess, 21, has been arraigned for the November death of Michael Robbins, 35. Court records say Robbins was shot twice in the chest with a 9mm handgun after the two men got into a fight.

Hess told the Laramie County Sheriff's Office that Robbins came home drunk after playing poker at the GI Forum and later began arguing over a pitcher of tea that had been knocked over. Hess says Robbins later punched him which escalated to a struggle for the gun on the side of Hess's belt.

Attorney Devon Petersen says Hess was acting in self-defense after Robbins attacked him. Hess was initially charged with second-degree murder, but the charge was reduced last month.

According to the court affidavit, Robbins had been staying with Hess while he was struggling with some financial problems. He was a 100% disabled veteran who suffered from PTSD.

Hess' trial is set to start on March 6. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.