CASPER, Wyo. (CN) – Graphic recordings prove that a Montana man was sentenced to life in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, after police knowingly withheld exonerating evidence, the man, acquitted on retrial, claims in Federal Court.
In 2010, more than a year after the Sublette County (Wyo.) Sheriff’s Office resurrected an investigation from its cold-case files, a jury convicted Troy Willoughby for the 1984 murder of Lisa Ehlers. The Wyoming Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and sentence in June 2011.
Willoughby sued Randall Hanson, a former investigator for the Sublette County Attorney’s Office; former sheriff’s Capt. Brian Ketterhagen; and sheriff’s Deputy Sarah Brew. They are the only defendants. Willoughby sued them all in their individual capacity.
According to the 22-page complaint, Deputy Lance Gehlhausen was assigned in 2008 to the team investigating the murder. While reviewing the file of the Willoughby investigation, the team – dubbed the “Leadership Team” – discovered exculpatory evidence that gave Willoughby an alibi for the time of the murder. Gehlhausen was ordered to leave the file with defendant Ketterhagen, according to the complaint.
Months later, Gehlhausen discovered that the file was still signed out under his name. Willoughby says the deputy asked Ketterhagen about the file, and the captain denied having any knowledge about it.
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The lawsuit states another lawman made secret recordings and presented them to prosecutors showing the investigators had agreed to withhold the police report.
We have a problem in this country. A problem that we need to be educated about. This is our future and our children’s future.