Montana man sues murder investigators

Sep 21, 2012 The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- A Montana man cleared of a Wyoming murder charge has filed a federal lawsuit against three former Sublette County investigators claiming they withheld evidence from his attorneys.

Troy Willoughby of Wickes, Mont., was convicted in 2010 in the 1984 killing of Lisa Ehlers.

Willoughby's conviction was overturned after Sublette County Attorney Neal Stelting announced last summer that authorities had failed to disclose a possibly exculpatory police report to Willoughby's attorneys. Willoughby was granted a new trial, and a jury acquitted him early this year.

Casper lawyer Ian Sandefer represents Willoughby in the lawsuit filed Monday. It names two former officers of the Sublette County Sheriff's Office, Brian Ketterhagen and Sarah Brew, and a former investigator for the County Attorney's Office, Randall Hanson.

The lawsuit states Deputy Lance Gehlhausen of the Sheriff's Office secretly recorded the other three members of the investigative team saying they knew they should have turned over the police report before Willoughby's first trial but didn't because they didn't want Willoughby to go free.

"We've proceeded with filing a lawsuit because nobody is above the law, not even law enforcement," Sandefer said Thursday.

The lawsuit says Willoughby served three years in custody before he was released. It's seeking undisclosed damages.

Stelting declined to comment Thursday through his office. An attempt to reach Sublette County Sheriff Dave Lankford was unsuccessful. Attempts to reach Ketterhagen, Brew and Hanson also were unsuccessful.

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