Never Mind: Gillette Man Reverses Self-Defense Claim In Bloody Beer Bottle Fight

Though he’d asked for a Friday hearing to show he acted in self-defense, a Venezuelan immigrant in Gillette accused of hurling a beer bottle at another man’s head now says he’d rather work on a plea agreement.

Clair McFarland

November 03, 20233 min read

Wilquerman Monsalpe
Wilquerman Monsalpe (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A Venezuelan immigrant living in Gillette charged with aggravated assault in a bloody fight with broken beer bottles canceled a Friday hearing where he’d planned to show the judge he acted in self-defense. 

“The hearing … is no longer required as the parties are continuing to engage in plea negotiations in this matter,” says a court filing on behalf of Wilquerman Monsalpe, 30. Monsalpe faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. 

He’s accused of hurling a beer bottle at another man after an argument over whether to send money to a family member in Venezuela to get that person to the United States, according to the case affidavit.

Monsalpe’s attorney Dallas E. Lamb, senior assistant public defender in Gillette, said in the Wednesday filing that he’d let every person who’d been subpoenaed know that the hearing was off. 

Stand Your Ground

Lamb had argued in an Ot. 16 filing for the hearing, which would have been a chance for Monsalpe to produce evidence that he acted in self-defense and should be exempt from prosecution under Wyoming’s stand-your-ground law

The law specifies that a person does not have a duty to retreat if he’s being attacked at a site that he occupies lawfully. It also commands immunity in some cases, saying a person who uses reasonable defensive force “shall not be criminally prosecuted” for doing so.  

Blood And Beer Bottles

Both Monsalpe and his alleged foe in this case, Lewis Paez-Florez, 37, sustained injuries. Monsalpe had a laceration on his left shoulder, a 3-inch-deep puncture wound to that same shoulder deep enough to display the bone and a 13-inch slash from his shoulder to his belly, says the affidavit. 

Paez-Florez had slashes to his forehead and crown. 

Both men were hospitalized. 

Who Started It?

Via a translator, Paez-Flores allegedly admitted that he started the fight by pushing Monsalpe and that he had a broken beer bottle in his hand.  

Monsalpe bashed Paez-Flores’ head with his own Corona beer bottle, so Paez-Flores swung at Monsalpe with his Corona bottle, the affidavit relates.  

That story deviated slightly from Paez-Flores’ first account, in which he said he couldn’t explain how Monsalpe was injured, says the affidavit.  

“Lewis (Paez-Flores) indicated he was reluctant to speak with law enforcement and tell the truth because he was concerned about being deported and not being able to work,” the investigator later wrote in the affidavit.   

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter