A Missouri state trooper who was charged in connection with the drowning death of a handcuffed suspect has been sentenced to just 10 days in jail.
State Trooper Anthony Piercy was initially charged with manslaughter in the 2014 death of Brandon Ellingson. On Tuesday, Piercy avoided trial by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor boating violation.
Judge Roger Prokes sentenced Piercy to two years of supervised probation and ordered him to complete 50 hours of community service, the Kansas City Star reported.
He received a suspended sentence and could face more jail time if he violates his probation.
Ellingson's father, Craig Ellingson, said the sentence was "like a vacation."
"It’s a joke," he said. "He knows he’s guilty and he’s damn lucky to get what he got."
Brandon Ellingson drowned in May 2014 while in Piercy’s custody on the Lake of the Ozarks after he was detained on suspicion of boating while intoxicated.
During the stop, prosecutors say Piercy handcuffed Ellingson’s hands behind his back.
According to witnesses, Piercy then put the wrong type of life jacket for a handcuffed person over the man's head.
While transporting Ellingson, Piercy's boat hit a wave. Ellingson was ejected into the water and his life vest came off.
Piercy jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue Ellingson, but was unable to.
Tuesday's hearing was the culmination of years of legal back and forth in the case after a prosecutor initially declined to prosecute Piercy.
Last year, the Ellingson family received a $9 million settlement from the state in relation to Brandon's death.
On Tuesday, Craig Ellingson directly addressed Piercy in his statement to the court.
"Anthony Piercy, it has been almost three and a half years that I’ve waited to tell you face to face that you’re the reason why my son Brandon is dead,” he said. "You had no compassion for my son."