Casper Man Found Not Guilty of Sexual Assault
A Casper man has been found not guilty of first-degree sexual assault.
The seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated for about two hours before returning the verdict in the state's case against Levi Zitterkopf.
His father, who was sitting in the second bench, broke down and cried when the verdict was read.
The alleged victim in the case said before the verdict was read that she would decline to comment regardless of the outcome.
"The jury system works," said public defender Robert Oldham, who was part of Zitterkopf's defense team.
Trial began Monday, with Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri representing the state. Taheri alleged that Zitterkopf sexually assaulted a teenage girl in 2016.
Results of a sex assault kit conducted on the victim at Wyoming Medical Center were consistent with the victim's statement about Zitterkopf using force to pin her to the couch, and forcefully assault her, Taheri said.
However, defense attorney Patrick Lewallen told the jurors they should consider the circumstances that led to charging Zitterkopf.
For example, the alleged victim's mother was the one who insisted the mark she saw was a hickey, even though the alleged victim initially denied it, Lewallen said. The girl had similar marks elsewhere on her body, and there was no mention of any assault until the girl's mother pushed the matter, he added.
The girl also had the same gynecological issues before and after her exam at the Wyoming Medical Center that resembled alleged injuries incurred during the alleged assault, he said.
"Lies are abundant in this case," Lewallen said.
Last week, Natrona County District Court Judge Catherine Wilking granted a motion by Zitterkopf's attorneys to not allow prosecutors to use statements he made to a Casper Police detective because he did not knowingly and intelligently waive his constitutional rights before being interviewed.