Troy Willoughby sues former Sublette County deputies and investigator
Claims they knowingly and willingly conspired and agreed to withhold exculpatory evidence in his murder trial
by Pinedale Online!
September 21, 2012
Troy Willoughby, a former Sublette County resident who was first convicted and then exonerated in the 1984 murder of Lisa Ehlers, has filed a lawsuit against two former Sublette County deputies and the lead investigator in the case against him. He was convicted of the murder in January, 2010. He was later granted a new trial when it came forward that potentially exculpatory evidence was kept from the defense by the prosecution team. The new trial was held in Fremont County where in February, 2012 it took just 2 hours for the jury to acquit him of the murder.
The complaint, filed on Monday, September 17, 2012 in U.S. District Court in Casper (12CV 210-S) is against Randall Hanson, former Investigator for the Sublette County Attorney’s Office, in his individual capacity; Brian Ketterhagen, former Captain of the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, in his individual capacity; and Sarah Brew, Deputy in the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, in her individual capacity.
In his complaint, Willoughby claims "Members of the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office and an Investigator working for the Sublette County Attorney’s Office knowingly and willingly conspired and agreed to withhold, secrete and hide exculpatory evidence in a criminal case against Mr. Willoughby in which he was tried and convicted of murder. The members of the conspiracy believed that if they disclosed the exculpatory evidence, as they knew was Constitutionally required, the government could not obtain a conviction against Mr. Willoughby." He uses a recording made by a fellow law enforcement officer as evidence to back up the alleged conspiracy and coverup.
The 22-page complaint makes the following claims against the three Defendants:
1. Hiding, Secreting, and/or Destruction of Exculpatory Evidence (14th Amendment violations) – against all Defendants
2. False Imprisonment (4th and 14th Amendment violations) – against all Defendants
3. Fundamental Unfairness of Troy Willoughby’s First Criminal Trial (14th Amendment Procedural and Substantive Due Process violations) – against all Defendants
4. Conspiracy To Violate Troy Willoughby’s Civil Rights (4th and 14th Amendment violations) – against all Defendants
5. Substantive Due Process Claim for Egregious Governmental Conduct (14th Amendment violation) – against all Defendants
No complaint has been filed to date against Sublette County.
Troy Willoughby currently resides in Montana. The three defendants no longer work for Sublette County. According to the court document, Hanson and Brew still live in Wyoming and Ketterhagen has since moved to South Dakota.
Willoughby asks for reasonable compensation for all injuries and damages, punitive damages, interest, attorney’s fees and any other relief the court may deem just and proper. He is being represented by Robert Pahlke with The Robert Pahlke Law Group in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Ian Sandefer and Donald Fuller of Fuller, Sandefer & Associates in Casper, Wyoming.
‘Not guilty’ By Joy Ufford, Sublette Examiner, February 10, 2012
February 9, 2012 Not Guilty verdict (PDF, Criminal Number 6707, In the District Court of Fremont County Wyoming Ninth Judicial District) Feb. 9, 2012
Willoughby to get a new trial By Bob Rule, KPIN 101.1 FM Radio, Pinedale Online, August 17, 2011
Judge’s Order granting new trial August 16, 2011
Update on Willoughby case Pinedale Online, June 22, 2011
Exculpatory evidence revealed in Troy Willoughby trial Pinedale Online, June 14, 2011
Sublette Prosecution Press Release June 14, 2011
Troy Willoughby sentenced to life Pinedale Online, March 26, 2010
Willoughby found guilty of Ehlers' murder Kaitlyn McAvoy, Pinedale Roundup, February 4, 2010
Murder Trial begins after 25 Years By Joy Ufford, Sublette Examiner, January 25, 2010
Cold Case: Murder suspect charged By Jonathan Van Dyke, Pinedale Roundup, March 5, 2009
Arrest made in 25-year old murder case Pinedale Online, March 1, 2009