The Iowa Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of Thaddeus Ellenbecker and says he deserves a new trial.
Ellenbecker was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison in December of 2012. He was convicted of setting fire to the Forest City Police Station and also stealing a weapon from another officer.
According to court documents filed on May 14, the court concluded Ellenbecker was in custody when Department of Criminal Investigation agents questioned him in the hospital without advising him of his Miranda rights. The court says any statements he made after he was taken into custody are inadmissible.
Wednesday, we spoke to Ellenbecker’s attorney, Timothy Lapointe, who applauds the Court of Appeals decision.
“The defendant was in custody while he was interrogated. He was thrown up against the wall of his apartment complex and shot by another officer, he was questioned at the hospital under heavy doses of medication,” says Lapointe.
The decision can be reviewed by the Iowa Supreme Court, so a new trial is not necessarily a done deal.
Lapointe says he’s been in contact with members of the Ellenbecker family and says they are very happy with the decision.
“We’re looking into further matters including the possibility of his release pending further review,” explains Lapointe.