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A jury found a Wyoming man guilty of two felonies for sexually assaulting a woman with Down Syndrome in the parking lot of a Casper bar.

Raymond Martin Brown was convicted Friday night of one count of third-degree sexual assault and one count of abuse of a vulnerable adult. The jury returned the verdict after three hours of deliberation.

Brown declined to testify in his own defense Friday. During closing arguments, his attorney, Donald Tolin, said prosecutors had charged the wrong man, that Brown was too drunk to intend to assault the woman. Tolin also argued that the woman did not qualify as a vulnerable adult under state statute.

A doctor testified earlier in the week that the woman has a moderate mental disability, indicating her IQ is below 70.

During Friday’s closing arguments, prosecutor Kevin Taheri said Brown had been positively identified by multiple witnesses, that the woman’s mental condition qualified her as a vulnerable adult and that Brown had shown his intent to assault and abuse the woman by his actions.

“This is a reasonable person standard, not a reasonable drunk person standard,” Taheri said.

Taheri noted the woman disclosed the assault almost immediately after it took place, and DNA was found on Brown’s hands and under the woman’s fingernails indicating they had touched although Brown denied ever coming into contact with her.

“What possible motive does (the woman) have to accuse that defendant, a man she doesn’t even know?” Taheri asked jurors.

When Tolin spoke, he attempted to cast doubt on two doctors’ testimony about the woman’s mental disability. He said testimony that the woman’s condition had worsened despite family efforts to help her become more independent indicated the medical practitioners were unreliable.

Tolin told jurors that the DNA on his client’s hands could have been transmitted by a third party at the bar, due to a high number of people shaking hands and touching objects in the bar. He said prosecutors had charged the wrong man.

“Just because the defendant is sitting next to the defense counsel ... doesn’t mean he’s guilty,” Tolin said.

Judge Thomas Sullins ordered Brown held without bond pending sentencing.

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Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson


Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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