GILLETTE, Wyo. — The Feb. 6 date established for the beginning of a jury trial of missing Gillette resident Irene Gakwa’s fiancé will need to be rescheduled, Sixth Judicial District Court Judge James Michael Causey said today.
Nathan Hightman is facing felony charges regarding intellectual and financial crimes against Gakwa.
Both Hightman’s defense attorney, Dallas Lamb, and Campbell County Attorney Nathan Henkes said in the pre-trial Jan. 4 that they anticipate the trial will last 10 days, and they would like the trial to not be stacked with other cases’ trials. Causey said the court’s docket is full, there are other cases that take precedence and it wants to ensure family and witnesses for Hightman’s trial who reside out of state are able to attend.
Lamb said he anticipates the defense might file a motion for a change of venue. That could involve moving the trial to another jurisdiction. He and Henkes said that the magnitude of pretrial publicity is more than typical.
Henkes said he wants that motion heard as soon as possible since it could affect trial logistics.
Hightman is charged with transferring thousands of dollars out of Gakwa’s bank account to his own, charging purchases on her credit cards, and changing her banking and email passwords, without permission and after she reportedly disappeared, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.