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Missouri trooper won’t go on trial in Brandon Ellingson drowning until May

Missouri Highway Patrol trooper Anthony Piercy charged in death of Brandon Ellingson

Special prosecuting attorney William Seay has charged Missouri Highway Patrol trooper Anthony Piercy with the class C felony of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Brandon Ellingson. The charge was filed in the Morgan County Justice Center in
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Special prosecuting attorney William Seay has charged Missouri Highway Patrol trooper Anthony Piercy with the class C felony of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Brandon Ellingson. The charge was filed in the Morgan County Justice Center in

A Missouri state trooper charged in the death of a handcuffed Iowa man won’t go to trial until the middle of next year, almost three years after the drowning.

Anthony Piercy initially was scheduled to go before a jury Monday for involuntary manslaughter. That court date was canceled and has now been set for May 1, according to the state’s online court database.

“It’s totally disappointing,” Craig Ellingson, the father of the drowned man, said of the delay. “Our family deserves better than this.”

Trooper Piercy arrested Brandon Ellingson on May 31, 2014, for suspicion of boating while intoxicated on the Lake of the Ozarks, and they headed to a field office for a sobriety test, traveling at speeds up to 46 mph. Ellingson ended up in the water, and the life vest — which witnesses say Piercy didn’t properly secure on Ellingson — soon came off. The trooper eventually jumped in to try to save Ellingson, but he couldn’t.

In December, a year after the family filed an open-records lawsuit as well as a civil lawsuit, a special prosecutor charged Piercy with involuntary manslaughter. The charge against Piercy is a Class C felony carrying a punishment of up to seven years in prison, up to a year in the county jail, a $5,000 fine or some combination.

Piercy has been on administrative leave without pay since December. His criminal attorney did not return a call for comment.

Two Missouri troopers set out to re-create the ride and conditions on Trooper Anthony Piercy's boat. This run reaches average speeds of 38 to 40 mph. Piercy was going 39.1 to 43.7 mph just before Brandon Ellingson left the boat and drowned May 31.

Laura Bauer: 816-234-4944, @kclaurab

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