Crime

UPDATE: Trooper gets probation and ten days in jail in man's drowning death

Trooper sentenced for mans drowning

MORGAN COUNTY, Mo. - On Tuesday afternoon, the Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to ABC 17 News' Sunshine request regarding the patrol's water training. The records sent by the patrol show how things may be changing since 2014.

Troopers now must go through a 40-day field training program with a veteran marine officer.
Part of their training includes swimming and water rescues.

UPDATE 2:06 p.m: Piercy was sentenced two years of supervised probation and ten days of jail time to be served at a date that the attorneys are currently negotiating.

According to his probation regulations, Piercy must consent to drug testing, work 50 hours of community service within six months and maintain full time employment.

Piercy could face up to 180 days in jail if he violates his probation. Judge Roger Prokes suspended the execution of Piercy's sentence, meaning the offense will stay on Piercy's record if he completes probation.

Special prosecutor William Seay had asked that Prokes also take away Piercy's POST certification, which allows Piercy to work as a peace officer. Prokes said that he would leave it up to the Department of Public Safety's process of revoking that license, should it be pursued.

Craig Ellingson, Brandon's father, said they would try to get Piercy's license taken away. He said the sentence was the best they could get, but felt Piercy should have faced murder charges for what happened.

"[Piercy] knows he's guilty," Ellingson told reporters outside the courthouse. "And he knows he's damn lucky to get what he got. Because if it was held somewhere else, he would have been found guilty."

Ellingson gave a victim impact statement that sometimes stopped due to tears. He recounted the good memories he had of his son. Several minutes through, Ellingson turned the focus of his statement to Piercy, who sat across the courtroom.

"Anthony Piercy, it has been three and a half years that I've waited to be able to tell you face-to-face that you're the reason my son is dead," Ellingson said.

Piercy, alongside his attorney Shane Farrow, apologized for his role in Brandon's death. 

"I know that nothing that I will say will ease the pain that they're feeling," Piercy said. "And I will never forget that I'm the cause of that pain. And I am truly sorry for that."

Piercy's ten days in jail will take place over five weekends. The first one will start this Friday, and last 48 hours.

ORIGINAL:A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper may receive his sentence today related to the death of a 20-year-old man.

Anthony Piercy pleaded guilty to careless operation of a vessel this year for the 2014 drowning of Brandon Ellingson at the Lake of the Ozarks. He admitted to putting Ellingson in the wrong life vest after taking him into custody for boating while intoxicated. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum six month jail sentence and mandatory probation.

Ellingson died over Memorial Day weekend three years ago while in Piercy's custody. Ellingson gfellout of Piercy's boat after it hit a wake at more than 40 m.p.h. The life vest came off, and Ellingson drowned while handcuffed. Piercy could not get Ellingson back in the boat after several attempts to do so.

At the plea hearing in Morgan County, Piercy's attorney said he could withdraw his plea if the sentencing assessment report recommended any jail time.

ABC 17 News obtained half of the sentencing assessment report earlier this month from online court records. The pages available did not show what sentence was recommended.

Piercy was a new trooper to water enforcement at the time, as part of the Highway Patrol's merger with the Water Patrol. ABC 17 News highlighted the concerns some lawmakers still have six years after the merger, including the training troopers receive.


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