IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An appeals court is ordering a new trial for a former northern Iowa officer serving a prison sentence for allegedly setting fire to his police station and stealing a colleague’s assault rifle.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that confessions made by former Forest City officer Thaddeus Ellenbecker can’t be used because investigators hadn’t read his rights.
Ellenbecker was shot by a Division of Criminal Investigation agent during an October 2011 struggle at his apartment complex after he walked out of an investigative interview. He confessed to those crimes to officers while he was in the hospital, but later maintained his innocence at trial.
The court says Ellenbecker was in police custody during the struggle and at the hospital, and therefore should have been read his Miranda rights.