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Man arrested in violent encounter last year sentenced to 5–7 years in prison

Gage Cordoza (courtesy Casper Police Department via Natrona County Detentions) Background (Oil City File: Trevor Trujillo)

CASPER, Wyo. — A Casper man received a five- to seven-year prison sentence Thursday for pointing a gun at his estranged spouse and threatening her life last summer. In the days following, he also sent her dozens of threatening voicemails and messages. 

Gage Thomas Cordova, now 24, was tracked by Casper police to an apartment closet on May 30 last year. Police say he emerged with a weapon and incurred a single “grazing wound” to his arm by police gunfire. The district attorney’s office declared the use of force justified.

“It was clear to me that the victim was terrorized and continues to this day to feel the impacts of what was done,” Seventh Judicial District Judge Catherine Wilking said at sentencing on Thursday.

State prosecutor Blaine Nelson asked the court for a five- to seven-year sentence. Nelson said the victim had asked for five.

Cordova’s public defender, Kurt Infanger, asked for 2–4 years, with a recommendation for the Youthful Offender Program, or “boot camp,” which allows offenders to apply for a sentence review upon graduation.

Though it was Cordova’s first felony, Nelson opposed the boot camp recommendation, citing the seriousness of the crime and “how close this came to permanent, fatal results.”

After a time of estrangement, Cordova returned to the woman’s west Casper home in late May last year, according to the affidavit. The woman told police he banged on the windows and demanded to be let in, but went away when she refused. Two days later, Cordova returned and pointed a gun at the victim and her female friend, according to the report.

The woman said that after Cordova fled, he sent messages including “You just made the biggest mistake of your life” and “Prepare for death.” Nelson recounted these messages at sentencing.

The report indicates that Cordova also taunted police, who were monitoring communications, and welcomed a violent encounter. 

Infanger agreed that “this was was a horrible event” and that the potentially worse outcomes could not be discounted. He said that Cordova had been struggling with substance abuse, a difficult separation and other diagnosed mental conditions.

“It’s not the person I am,” Cordova told the court Thursday. “The person I am is good and kind-hearted and respectable. Drugs took all that away.”

Wilking said she believed Cordova’s remorse as expressed in the presentence investigation report, but declined to endorse a boot camp recommendation.

Cordova will get credit for 352 days served.