Some Evidence Thrown Out in Trinity Arson Case - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Some Evidence Thrown Out in Trinity Arson Case

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Evidence in the Dickinson Trinity High School arson case is thrown out..

Thomas Sander, the former Principal accused of setting the fire was in court this afternoon for his Motion to Suppress hearing..

Macy Egeland was in the Stark County Courthouse and has the details.

Thomas Sander is charged with Arson and Endangering by Fire.. both class B felonies.

In court this afternoon.. Judge William Herauf ruled to throw out part of what Sander told police during an interrogation one day after the fire.

Lead investigators Sgt. Kylan Klauzer and Detective Terry Oestreich say Sander came to the police department the day after the fire for questioning..

He was interviewed twice that day and once on March 5th... all 3 were recorded.

After watching the tapes and hearing from both investigators, Judge Herauf found Sander was not read his Miranda Rights properly.

He also found that Sgt. Klauzer and Detective Oestreich told Sander he was not free to leave two times, when he was.

"Mr. Sander tried to put on his coat and you told him he could not?" Attorney Lloyd Suhr asked.

 "I told him he may not put on his jacket, yes," Sgt. Klauzer said.

"Because I was hoping he was going to stay and work with us," he added.

"You were hoping but weren't you also stopping him from leaving?" Suhr said.

"Yes," Sgt. Klauzer replied.

The recorded interview footage also showed they didn't allow Sander an attorney when he said, "I need to get a lawyer."

"You also told him if he got an attorney it would certainly make things more complicated, didn't you?" Suhr said. 

"Yes," Det. Oestreich said.

"Complicated for you?" Suhr asked. 

"Yes," Det. Oestreich replied.

During the interrogation they also told Sander they would seek the maximum penalty if he did not confess.

After hearing all testimony, Judge Herauf decided to suppress the second interview..

They are still waiting on multiple different pieces of evidence before this case can move forward.. Including an anonymous confession letter from a student.

Another preliminary hearing is set for next Tuesday, July 8th.

Reporting in Dickinson, I'm Macy Egeland.

Sander's jury trial is set for July 23rd in Dickinson, though his attorney did tell Judge Herauf they most likely would not be ready by then.

Sander faces up to 20 years in prison and a 40 thousand dollar fine.

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