Trooper Gets 10-15 Years For Rape As Wyoming Legislator Calls Him ‘A Man of God’

A Cheyenne judge Thursday sentenced a former Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper who raped a woman to 10-15 years in prison despite a state legislator lobbying the judge for leniency, calling him “a man of God.”

Clair McFarland

May 23, 20247 min read

Gabriel Testerman was sentenced in Laramie County District Court on May 23, 2024.
Gabriel Testerman was sentenced in Laramie County District Court on May 23, 2024. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A Cheyenne judge Thursday sentenced a former Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper who raped a woman to 10-15 years in prison despite a state legislator lobbying the judge for probation, calling him “a man of God.”

Laramie County District Court Judge Robin Cooley handed down the sentence after a nearly three-hour hearing in which former state trooper Gabriel Testerman’s victim delivered an emotional victim impact statement asking for the maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Conversely, state Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, testified in support of Testerman, 42, saying he’d be a good candidate for probation or a suspended sentence.

A jury convicted Testerman on Feb. 1 of first-degree sexual assault, the worst rape violation on Wyoming’s law books, for tying up his girlfriend in 2021, bracing her legs apart with an extending bar and raping her while she cried for help.

The violation carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum of 50, though judges can order probation if appropriate.

Testerman’s defense attorney, Devon Petersen, argued for probation or five to seven years in prison. Special prosecutor Dan Erramouspe argued for 35-40 years.

Erramouspe had argued, and Cooley agreed, that Testerman violated the trust the community had placed in him as a law enforcement officer.

“A position in law enforcement carries with it great responsibility whether on duty or off duty,” said Cooley. “Law enforcement is held to a higher standard and more is expected of them. I feel this crime is an egregious abuse of trust.”

‘Free Me’

Earlier in the hearing, his victim wept at the podium.

She said it’s been hard for her to reconcile what Testerman did to her, that it’s been humiliating to testify publicly multiple times, and she battles fear and defeat every day.

She said she didn’t take it lightly that the rest of Testerman’s life could hang in the balance — that he would miss out on time with his children and the numerous other people who care about him.

“I would like to remind the court this is the rest of my life too,” she said through tears. “The rest of my life and what that looks like depends on you. … I hope to know I’ll have some freedom from the fear of being retaliated against. Some freedom from the fear of this ever happening to me again. And some freedom from the fear of him doing this to someone else.”

The woman said she’d never fully be free of her fear, “but please free me as much as you can. I did not ask for this.”

Erramouspe referenced her testimony in his own argument. He also referenced numerous letters Testerman’s friends and loved ones sent to the court attesting to his good character.

“There are two Gabe Testermans,” said Erramouspe. He pointed to obsessive, dominating behavior Testerman reportedly exhibited toward his ex-wives; he said Testerman should have weighed his concerns about getting to be with his kids and contributing to his community before he raped the victim — not ahead of his sentencing hearing.

“This is also giving a black eye to law enforcement, whom I’ve been proud to work with over the years,” said Erramouspe. “They’re not this way. He’s this way. And he snuck in the cracks.”

‘Dirty Laundry’

Petersen countered, pointing to Testerman’s nonexistent criminal history, his military and law-enforcement record and his good reputation with many people.

Judges tend to favor accountability in convicted defendants, which Petersen said made Testerman’s position a difficult one: he wasn’t taking accountability because he maintained his innocence.

Petersen asked the court not to hold that against him, and in fact reminded her that it’s unconstitutional to punish someone for taking advantage of his rights, such as the right to a trial.

He characterized Erramouspe’s focus on Testerman’s other disastrous relationships as an airing of “dirty laundry” that wasn’t the essence of the case. And he said that Testerman has been a poster child of good behavior while out on bond, even after being convicted, and that Testerman poses no danger to the community.

“We’ve heard a lot of emotion. Emotion from (the victim) — probably appropriate — and from the state,” said Petersen. “Regardless of how serious this crime is, the Wyoming Supreme Court and the Wyoming Legislature have declared there are times, there are ways in which… probation is appropriate.”

Petersen pointed to cases in which defendants received light sentences with rape convictions. And he pointed to all Testerman has already endured: he's lost his job, he's a convicted felon, he'll be a lifelong sex offender and his relationships are damaged.

As a former trooper, Testerman could endure rough treatment in prison, said Petersen. A five- to seven-year stretch for a former police agent would be much rougher than for anyone else, the defender added.

Petersen played a portion of the victim's law enforcement interview from early in the case, in which she said she was "annoyed" after Testerman's attack.

"To me at that point I wasn’t, like, thinking of it as being taken advantage of or raped. At that point I was just laying there thinking that was just really bad, mean sex," she'd said.

Erramouspe said Petersen was playing the clip out of context, and that on the whole she characterized the attack as sexual assault.

State Representative

Brown, a member of the Wyoming Legislature, testified on Testerman’s behalf, telling the judge Testerman is a good candidate for probation or a suspended sentence. He also called him “a man of God.”

Erramouspe balked at that, saying that, “A man of God wouldn’t do things like this.”

Brown said it’s his sincere belief that Testerman is a good man.

“He is not the monster as it was portrayed today,” said Brown.

He also said that for Erramouspe to question his assessment of Testerman’s faith is “distasteful.”

Brown said he respects the jury’s decision and the legal process, but wanted the court to know how much Testerman has grown during his two years of prosecution and how he has maintained his innocence throughout.

In a later interview with Cowboy State Daily, Brown clarified that he wasn't speaking to the court as a state representative, but as an individual who has known Testerman personally for more than 15 years.

"I fully support our judicial system. Twelve men and women found Gabriel Testerman guilty of a crime. The judge levied a punishment and I support the punishment levied against the crime," said Brown. "I testified for a more lenient sentence, but that does not mean that I condone the actions of Mr. Testerman."

Brown said he believed it was his personal duty to speak up for Testerman, whom he considers a friend.

"I do not necessarily have to agree with the outcome of the case to completely respect the outcome," he said.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter