Criminal cases in Tea being reviewed after police chief suedTEA (AP) — Lincoln County State's Attorney Tom Wollman plans to review criminal cases in Tea over the past two years in the wake of a state investigation of the city's former police chief and an officer.
TEA (AP) — Lincoln County State's Attorney Tom Wollman plans to review criminal cases in Tea over the past two years in the wake of a state investigation of the city's former police chief and an officer.
Former Chief Brian Ketterhagen is accused in Wyoming of withholding evidence in a case in which a man was wrongfully convicted of murder, a claim Ketterhagen has denied.
The South Dakota Attorney General's Office is investigating Ketterhagen, 51, and former officer James Klimple, 37, both of whom resigned last week during a closed executive session of the City Council. The attorney general's office has not said why it is investigating the two except that the probe has nothing to do with the Wyoming case.
Ketterhagen, former captain in the sheriff's office in Wyoming's Sublette County, is one of three officers being sued in federal court in Wyoming by Troy Willoughby, who was wrongfully convicted two years ago for a 1984 killing. Willoughby was granted a new trial and acquitted in February because Ketterhagen and the other officers allegedly withheld a police report from defense lawyers that backed Willoughby's alibi.
"I don't know that the facts in the Wyoming complaint are the gospel truth, but it is serious enough that we feel that taking a second look at the cases (out of Tea), it's the only responsible thing to do," Wollman told the media.
Ketterhagen and the others involved in the Wyoming lawsuit have denied the allegations through their lawyers. Ketterhagen declined further comment.
Ketterhagen had been chief in Tea for a little more than two years. He replaced Ken Haugen, who had been demoted and then unsuccessfully ran for Lincoln County sheriff shortly before being fired from the Tea Police Department. He sued the city in 2011 but the case was dismissed.
"We've been kind of blindsided by this whole thing," Tea City Council member Todd Boots said. "We're really in the stage where we're trying to sort things out."