State Briefs

Two charged in Laramie stabbing

LARAMIE (WNE) — Two individuals are in police custody and were charged with felonies following a stabbing reported Friday in Laramie.

Cheyenne Police Department officers arrested Jake Gillen, a 22-year-old with no permanent address, alongside 20-year-old Tess Bean of Laramie on Saturday, after a tip shared with the Laramie Police Department’s Facebook page led law enforcement to an unidentified motel in Cheyenne.

The victim, Terrence Gadlin, called LPD from the Ivinson Memorial Hospital parking lot 5 a.m. Friday, where responders stabilized him and arranged for transport to another hospital for treatment of “life-threatening injuries,” according to a news release.

Because of these injuries, officers said Gadlin was unable to communicate about what happened at the time.

The defendant’s condition is not being shared at this time, said Lt. Gwen Smith of the LPD.

“We haven’t heard anything additional from the hospital and the detectives are still working on that case, so we can’t really say anything besides what’s been put out so far,” she said.

Gillen was charged with attempted murder in the second degree — a crime carrying a punishment of not less than 20 years imprisonment. Bean was charged with accessory after the fact — a crime carrying a punishment of up to three years imprisonment, a $3,000 fine, or both.

Smith said Gillen and Bean would likely be tried in Albany County District Court, despite being arrested in Laramie County.

“Historically, defendants are tried in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred,” she said.

The investigation is ongoing, she said.

Gadlin was a witness in a 2017 stabbing trial in which the defendant was ultimately acquitted. Smith said she could not say whether or not the two events were in any way related.

Man convicted in child porn case could face 82-year sentence

RIVERTON (WNE) — Gordon Harstad faces up to 82 years’ imprisonment for numerous sex crimes under an approved plea agreement with local prosecutors.

The Lander man is in his mid-30s. He became one of Fremont County’s most heavily charged criminals in recent memory this spring after county attorney Pat LeBrun charged the defendant with 23 felony sex crimes with minors.

Harstad pleaded guilty this month to four counts of first degree sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of sexual exploitation of children and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree.

Harstad faces a minimum prison sentence of 25 years and a maximum of 82 years, depending on an impending decision by Judge Norman Young.

The defendant was originally charged with two sex crimes in February. But after more victims came forward, Harstad was charged with 21 more crimes, including the production of child pornography.

Jacob Nation, a detective in the Riverton Police Department, first began investigating Harstad after a man reported Feb. 2 that his pre-teenage daughter had been sexually assaulted by the defendant in January.

The daughter reportedly told her father that during a weekend in mid-January, Harstad both digitally penetrated her and forced her to perform oral sex on him while he took pictures on his cell phone.

During a Feb. 5 interview with the Children’s Advocacy Project in Casper, Harstad’s first discovered victim revealed that she had also been molested by Harstad prior to January.

When police searched Harstad’s cell phone, they discovered multiple videos of a nude “prepubescent female” being molested by an adult hand that appeared to be Harstad’s.

Two days later, another victim revealed that Harstad had abused her “many times” since 2009, when she was five years old.

LCCC starts free college program

CHEYENNE (WNE) — Free community college is now closer to becoming a reality in Wyoming.

Laramie County Community College is beginning a new scholarship program that covers all costs to attend, allowing adults a chance to improve their lives in ways they may not have believed possible.

Through “Rediscover LCCC,” 80 adults can study 24 different programs this fall at no cost.

“We’re taking your full tuition and fees off the table, so if you get a Pell grant or a scholarship from the Foundation or other type of aid, that’s going to help you with books, gas, bills, rent – all the stuff we know adults have to pay for, anyway,” LCCC President Joe Schaffer said.

Schaffer said some adults may not return to college because of the financial challenges it presents.

“If you were to leave your job today to come back to college full time, you not only have the life commitments you have to pay for, but now you have to pay for tuition and fees to come to college,” Schaffer said.

“It makes it incredibly difficult in this environment to do that.”

“Rediscover LCCC” is open to residents who have lived in the state for three years or more, are at least 25, can show financial need, are willing to attend full time and have not previously earned a degree. Schaffer said participants also must maintain a 2.5 GPA throughout the program, as well.

Schaffer said LCCC is hoping to take in 80 students this fall and 80 in fall 2019. Students can come from any community in the state and can complete programs entirely online if they choose.

Available programs range from certificates that take one semester to associate degrees designed for transfer to a four-year institution.