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Divergent narratives in Testerman assault trial as jury deliberates

Laramie County Governmental Complex is inlaid with a photo of Gabriel Testerman. (Laramie County Sheriff's Office)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — As the trial of former Wyoming Highway Patrol Sergeant Gabriel Testerman concludes, the jury is now deliberating, following closing arguments that echoed the starkly opposing narratives from the trial’s outset.

The case, marked by conflicting depictions of the alleged assaults, started Monday at the Laramie County District Court.

Opening Statements:

The prosecution initiated its case by detailing two alleged sexual assaults involving Testerman, dating back to April 2022 and July 2021. They portrayed a dichotomy in Testerman’s character: an officer of the law versus an alleged sexual predator.

One narrative described a friendship culminating in an assault on Chelsea Buckholtz, leaving evidence of a struggle in Testerman’s house. Another incident involved Cecilia “Cici” Mohren, allegedly bound and assaulted while unconscious after Frontier Days, leading to their relationship’s end.

In contrast, the defense maintained the encounters were consensual, highlighting Testerman’s confusion during the incidents, especially considering a phone call Buckholtz made to Michael Mills. They argued Buckholtz was sober, Buckholtz had opportunities to leave and the post-incident texts didn’t reflect any confrontation with Testerman.

Closing Arguments:

Reiterating their initial stance, the prosecution focused on the alleged April 2022 assault against Buckholtz. They scrutinized the text exchanges between Buckholtz and Testerman and emphasized the significant personal cost and stress for the accusers in coming forward.

The prosecution labeled the idea of the accusers conspiring against Testerman as a fabrication. They also emphasized that counts one and two were both for the incident in 2022.

Conversely, the defense spotlighted the accusers’ blackouts, suggesting these were convenient gaps. They argued that signs of a consensual encounter were misconstrued and both accusers lacked credibility.

The defense stressed inconsistencies in their stories and implied ulterior motives behind the accusations. They also emphasized the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Case Background:

Testerman’s arrest on Aug. 30, 2022, followed an investigation by the Cheyenne Police Department, leading to charges of sexual intrusion. The Wyoming Highway Patrol’s swift action placed Testerman on administrative leave.

The trial has faced multiple delays, initially set for Jan. 10, 2023, then moved to March 13 and Aug. 28, 2023, before finally commencing on Jan. 29, 2024.