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Sweetwater County attorney prepares for trial in Cheyenne involving WHP Trooper

Sweetwater County Attorney Daniel Erramouspe

By David Martin, SweetwaterNOW

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Sweetwater County Attorney’s Office is prepping for a felony trial next week in Cheyenne involving a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper who faces charges of sexual assault.

According to Cap City News, Gabriel Testerman faces three charges of sexual intrusion following his arrest Aug. 30, 2022. Due to a conflict in that case, the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office contacted Sweetwater County Attorney Daniel Erramouspe to handle the case, with Erramouspe filing the charges against Testerman.

Wyoming has two district attorney positions that deal solely with criminal cases. They are in Laramie County and Natrona County and were created based on the population of the two counties.

“We made the charging decisions on it,” Erramouspe said.

The trial is set to begin Monday after being continued multiple times by Testerman’s defense attorney. Typically, a court case has a 180-day window to reach trial in the  defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial. Testerman waived that right, which allowed the trial to be postponed multiple times. Time was beginning to run out as First Judicial District Court Judge Thomas Campbell will retire from the bench March 16, however, all the involved parties were able to agree on a trial date before Campbell’s retirement. 

Erramouspe said situations where one county prosecutor calls in another outside prosecutor to handle a case isn’t uncommon in Wyoming as it isn’t hard for conflict situations to occur. A similar situation happened regarding former Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo when he faced charges related to corruption in office. That case was handled by the Johnson County Attorney’s Office after conflict was declared by Erramouspe’s office.

Erramouspe said prosecuting cases outside Sweetwater County aren’t difficult, but they do have different aspects the outside attorneys have to deal with. He said attorneys work with different courts and judges that also have different procedures the attorneys would work within. Additionally, they don’t have ready access evidence and are forced to talk with victims and witnesses through telephone calls or digital conferences more frequently than in person because of the physical distances involved. Finally, the attorneys prosecuting the case will live out of a hotel room for a week as they work through the trial.

“These are small trials we have to go through, but it’s doable,” he said.

This story originally appeared on SweetwaterNOW. It is reprinted here with permission.