ALLEN CO., Ind. (WISH) - New revelations surfaced in court late Wednesday about the investigation into the mishandling of evidence in the case against suspended IMPD officer David Bisard.
Court testimony given before Allen County Judge John Surbeck in a pre-trial evidentiary hearing suggests top IMPD commanders may have ordered an internal investigation be conducted on fellow officers and prosecutors involved in handling and testing a second vial of Bisard's blood.
IMPD Internal Affairs Sergeant Kevin Wethington testified that on April 16, 2012, shortly after the second vial of Bisard's blood was discovered stored in violation of court orders in an unrefrigerated property room, former Deputy Public Safety Director and Civilian Chief of Professional Standards Ellen Corchella ordered him to "seize all internal files on the Bisard case," and turn them over to her. He then testified that he was ordered to secretly access and copy all the emails from the sergeant who handled that vial.
Three days later, on April 19, Wethington testified that he was ordered by then Public Safety Director Frank Straub to capture the emails of then IMPD Chief Paul Ciecelski. He told the judge he accessed 30 days worth of communications and copied them, but never turned them over.
Wethington declined to answer questions following his testimony.
But, Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson did not.
She filed a motion Wednesday notifying the judge she had learned earlier this month that two conversations she had about that second vial of blood and the handling of it were secretly recorded by Corchella and public safety investigator Sergeant Dawn Higgins.
Higgins admitted on the stand that she had been ordered to record the conversations, once by phone and once in person during a meeting at the prosecutor's office. Both recordings took place in May 2012, shortly after the second vial was discovered in the annex.
Robinson called it shocking.
"In more than 20 years of being a prosecutor, I've never heard of this happening. It's never happened to me. And, I certainly took exception to it," she said.
The conversations mostly involved trial strategy surrounding the second vial, Robinson said.
"I don't know why they wanted to record that. I have no idea," she said.
Aaron Wells, whose son Eric was killed in the 2010 crash, said Wednesday's testimony supports what he's felt for more than three years.
"Do I believe there's an obstruction of justice from the beginning? Yes--with a group of IMPD officers. Not all IMPD officers. But, a select few."
Asked how far he believed the influence of the department has been on the case, Wells frowned.
"All the way to the top," he said.
"I understand why the victims in this case believe there's a cover up," Robinson said. "As with the word sabotage, I'm not willing to come to that conclusion."
Neither was Bisard's attorney, John Kautzman, who stayed silent following Wednesday's hearing. He made no comment on Judge Surbeck's ruling that the first vial of blood evidence will be allowed to be admitted at trial.
A ruling on admission of the second vial is now expected next week, along with rulings on admissibility of other comments made about the case and a request from Kautzman to sequester the jury.
Jury section in the case is scheduled to begin on October 14.
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