INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi's top deputy pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge Tuesday in a case that could soon see additional indictments handed down.
David Wyser, 53, agreed to the guilty plea under an agreement that will require him to cooperate with an ongoing federal investigation into allegations of misconduct within the Marion County Prosecutor's Office.
Wyser served as Brizzi's top deputy in the office from 2005-2010.
He left the federal courthouse in silence Tuesday after Judge Sarah Evans Barker agreed to allow him to remain free on bond pending sentencing. His attorney, Mark Inman, also declined to comment, but said in court that sentencing in the case is likely still several months away and will "depend on others involved in the case."
As part of the plea agreement accepted Tuesday, Wyser plead guilty to accepting a $2,500 campaign donation in exchange for a sentence reduction of a convicted murderer. Court documents do not name that prisoner, but the details of the case closely match those of Paula Willoughby. She was sentenced to 70-years for the murder of her husband Darrell.
Records show Willoughby's father, Harrison Epperly, made a donation to Wyser's campaign for Hamilton County Prosecutor in May of 2009 one day before Wyser signed off on a negotiation for the early release of Willoughby from prison.
Epperly also made campaign donations to Brizzi.
Outside the courthouse Tuesday, Daryl Willoughby's family called Wyser's guilty plea the first step toward justice.
"It's a step, but it feels like a small step," said Jessie Willoughby, Darrell's sister. "It doesn't relieve anything, but we feel like we're now on the way. We've got a great investigating team on it, so all the rest of them should be aware that they're coming after them."
When asked if investigators had mentioned Brizzi's name to her as a potential target of that investigation, Willoughby nodded.
"Oh, yeah," she said. "Good luck Carl, because you're next. You are definitely next."
Brizzi has not been charged in connection with the case. 24-Hour News 8's calls to Brizzi following Tuesday's plea agreement were not returned.
Under the terms of the plea agreement Wyser could face up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, but federal prosecutors are expected to recommend a lighter sentence in exchange for Wyser's cooperation. If the sentence imposed by Judge Barker falls within the guidelines recommended by federal prosecutors, Wyser will give up his right to appeal.
No sentencing date was set at Tuesday's hearing.
Three fires sent three different families out into the cold overnight.
The state of Indiana turns 197 on Wednesday.
The Indiana Motor Sports Commission approved the plans to move forward with a number of improvements at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.