KENOSHA COUNTY (WITI) -- A Kenosha attorney is calling for the release of internal police documents. He wants to know more about the investigation into an officer who admitted to planting evidence in a murder case.
The attorney for one of three charged in the death of Anthony Edwards asked a judge on Tuesday, March 10th to make public the internal affairs reports regarding Kyle Baars.
Baars, a former Kenosha police officer testified last week that he planted an ID and a bullet during the investigation into Edwards' death. He testified that he told a detective about what he did in October, yet the Kenosha police chief says he wasn't made aware of it until January.
"It's shocking and outrageous to think evidence is planted in a case to convict somebody," Terry Rose said last week.
Rose is the attorney for 20-year-old Markese Tibbs. Tibbs is one of three people charged in this case. Rose says he didn't know about the planted evidence until the lawyer for another defendant, 23-year-old Joseph-Jamal Brantley told him about it last week.
Tibbs, Brantley and 20-year-old Brandon Horak are charged in the shooting death of Anthony Edwards. Edwards was found dead near 65th and Sheridan Road in Kenosha on April 14th, 2014. Police say Edwards was driving a car — and ended up driving the car into a home. Police believe the shooting occurred in the area of 58th Street and 11th Avenue.
Court records show the shooting occurred after a disputed marijuana sale.
Rose came away from Tuesday's hearing empty-handed. He hoped the judge would call for the release of internal affairs records on Baars, the former Kenosha police officer who testified he planted evidence while investigating the April death of Anthony Edwards.
"This is a large public issue of planting of evidence and calls into question the integrity of a criminal justice system which the public must have confidence in," Rose said.
The judge ruled Kenosha County District Attorney Robert Zapf has the authority to provide those papers. Zapf offered to give them to Rose for review, but on the condition Rose wouldn't release them to the public. Rose said he wouldn't agree to that.
Zapf says the records cannot be made public yet because Baars is currently being investigated for criminal misconduct.
"I was concerned that release of that document, the internal affairs, might jeopardize that investigation before they even have a chance to review it," Zapf said.
Baars testified last week that after planting the evidence in April, he told the detective working the case about what he did in October and again in November. In an interview with FOX6 News, Kenosha Police Chief John Morrissey said he was notified about Baars' actions in January.
"What I can tell you is what was testified to and I believe also referenced is that the report that was submitted to our office was dated November 11th, 2014 but not submitted to our office until January 21st," Zapf said.
FOX6 News is told Chief Morrissey is out of town this week. Lt. Brad Hetlet says the reason for the gap (between October/November 2014 and January 2015) is Baars wasn't initially clear about what he did. By the time everything was sorted out internally, Hetlet says it was January, and that's when Chief Morrisey was notified and Baars resigned.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office is handling the Baars criminal misconduct investigation. Both Morrissey and Zapf say investigators are now going back and reviewing all other criminal cases Baars helped investigate. Zapf says while he understands Baars' admission may cause public mistrust of other Kenosha police investigations, this appears to be an isolated incident.
"I have no evidence that would support it's part of a larger problem," Zapf said, "Baars never indicated such a thing. He did a stupid thing. He came forward."
Zapf also points out that on the same day of Baars' testimony, the jury still convicted Brantley on all four charges he faced in this case: first degree reckless homicide, armed robbery, first degree recklessly endangering safety and carrying a concealed weapon. Brantley's lawyer has moved to dismiss the charges -- a move Rose says makes sense. That motions hearing is set for April 27th.
Tibbs has pleaded guilty to the charges he faces in this case: felony murder, armed robbery and first degree recklessly endangering safety. He is set to be sentenced this week -- on Thursday, March 12th. Rose says Baars' alleged misconduct should allow Tibbs to withdraw his plea. Rose says he wants to review the internal documents before making that decision.
The third man charged in this case, 20-year-old Brandon Horak (charged with felony murder) will be sentenced on May 1st. Horak also took a plea deal before Baars' testimony. Zapf says he is willing to retry both men if they choose to withdraw their pleas.
- "It's shocking and outrageous:" Former Kenosha police officer admits to planting evidence in murder case
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- ACCUSED OF MURDER: Three men will stand trial in Kenosha County
- CHARGED: New felony murder charge filed in death of Kenosha man
- Two charged in shooting death of Anthony Edwards