Willoughby suit closes with settlements
by Joy Ufford
October 3, 2013
After a year’s worth of court proceedings, former Daniel resident Troy D. Willoughby brought his civil suit against former Sublette County officers to a close with undisclosed settlements.
On Sept. 30, Wyoming U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl accepted Willoughby’s motions to dismiss his lawsuit against former county investigator Randall Hanson and former Sublette County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Brian Ketterhagen and Deputy Sarah Brew.
Willoughby’s complaint argued that the three had hidden potentially exculpatory evidence from the defense before his first murder trial in 2010 for the June 21, 1984, early-morning shooting death of Elisabeth "Lisa" Ehlers, of Jackson, at a highway pullout just north of Bondurant.
After Willoughby was sentenced to life in prison and having his appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court denied, revelations emerged of secretly made tapes of conversations among the officers about allegedly withholding evidence.
After a new trial was ordered and a change of venue granted, Willoughby was found not guilty of the first-degree murder charge by a Fremont County jury and released from custody.
Willoughby filed the civil lawsuit naming Hanson, Ketterhagen and Brew in U.S. District Court on Sept. 17, 2012. He filed a motion to dismiss his complaint against Brew on Aug. 20, which Judge Skavdahl ordered. The Aug. 27 settlement conference apparently led to mutual agreements, as no further documents were filed in the court until the Sept. 30 motions from Willoughby to dismiss his suit against Hanson and Ketterhagen.
"It is ordered that all claims brought on behalf of plaintiff (Willoughby) in the above-referenced action against (Hanson and Ketterhagen) are dismissed with prejudice with each party to bear its own respective attorneys (sic) fees and costs," Judge Skavdahl wrote.
The Dec. 2 bench trial, with 10 days set aside in the judge’s Casper courtroom, is now vacated and the case is labeled "terminated" as of Sept. 30, according to court records.
However, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) was asked to look into the possibility of criminal charges against a former county attorney not named in Willoughby’s civil suit, and those who were sued, according to court records.
Sheridan County Attorney Matthew F. Redle was named special prosecutor for the DCI, standing in for Sublette County Attorney Neal Stelting. No updates are yet announced in that matter.
Troy Willoughby sues former Sublette County deputies and investigator - Pinedale Online, Sept. 21, 2012
‘Not guilty' - By Joy Ufford, Pinedale Online, Feb. 10, 2012
Willoughby to get a new trial - By Bob Rule, KPIN 101.1 FM Radio, Pinedale Online! August 17, 2011
Exculpatory evidence revealed in Troy Willoughby trial - Sublette County and Prosecuting Attorney media release, June 14, 2011
Troy Willoughby sentenced to life - March 26, 2010
Willoughby found guilty of Ehlers' murder - By Kaitlyn McAvoy, Pinedale Roundup, Feb. 4, 2010
Murder Trial begins after 25 Years - By Joy Ufford, Sublette Examiner, Jan. 25, 2010
Cold Case: Murder suspect charged - By Jonathan Van Dyke, Pinedale Roundup, March 5, 2009