Mo. trooper sentenced for 2014 drowning death of handcuffed man

Trooper Anthony Piercy was sentenced to 10 days in jail

By PoliceOne Staff

VERSAILLES, Mo. — A Missouri trooper was sentenced Tuesday to 10 days in jail for the drowning death of a handcuffed suspect in 2014.

Trooper Anthony Piercy’s sentence was a part of a plea deal that kept a felony off his record and sentenced him to two years probation for the death of Brandon Ellingson, the Lake Expo reported. 

Ellingson, 20, was pulled over in 2014 by Piercy, who normally worked road duty but was working as a supplemental trooper during a busy weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks. Ellingson was arrested for allegedly boating while intoxicated. 

Ellingson, who was handcuffed, fell overboard while he was being transported back to shore for processing. Piercy attempted to hook Ellingson with a pole. Piercy jumped into the water to rescue Ellingson, but Ellingson sank and drowned. Testimony later revealed that Ellingson’s life jacket came off after Piercy put it on incorrectly. 

Piercy was initially charged with first-degree manslaughter. He accepted a guilty plea that brought the charge down to negligent operation of a vessel. Prosecutors said they accepted the reduced charge because they feared they couldn’t receive a manslaughter conviction from a jury in Piercy’s hometown. 

Piercy apologized for the situation and said he was truly sorry. 


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