Lawsuit accuses Knox County Sheriff's office of taking bribes to frame innocent man for murder
The main suspect had for five years made monthly payments to a detective “for the right to conduct criminal activity without fear of prosecution,” according to the suit.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Campbell County man has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he spent five years in jail for a murder he didn’t commit after officers with the Knox County Sheriff’s Department attempted to frame him and clear another suspect who was paying them monthly bribes.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of William Anderson, who was found not guilty on May 26, 2016 by a jury of murder in the Nov. 23, 2011 death of Bob Wiggins, claims officers knowingly initiated false charges, fabricated evidence and cut a deal with the "real murderer" and his associates.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, claims police hid evidence, including a video showing the man Anderson and his attorneys claim is the real murderer and that man's uncle purchasing tools to bury they body and six bags of lime.
That evidence was hidden to protect the uncle, who is related to a Kentucky State Police detective, according to the suit. And that man had for five years made monthly payments to former Knox County Sheriff John Pickard “for the right to conduct criminal activity without fear of prosecution,” according to the suit.
Several Knox County Sheriff’s deputies are also accused of taking payments from the man - "in this pay-to-play scheme" - and aided in framing Anderson, even though he had “an ironclad alibi that was supported by multiple witnesses,” the suit claims.
No one answered the phone at the Knox County Sheriff’s Department Monday morning.
Anderson, 37, is represented by several Chicago attorneys, including Elliot Slosar, who recently helped vindicate and free William Virgil for the 1987 murder of a Veterans Administration nurse in Newport.
“Mr. Anderson was framed for a murder that he did not commit by officers from the Kentucky State Police and Knox County Sheriff’s Department, who fabricated evidence and coerced witnesses,” said Slosar. “It took nearly five years to unravel the police fraud in a case where Mr. Anderson should never have been arrested in the first place.”
In April, Slosar filed a wrongful arrest suit against many of the same defendants - including Pickard and KSP officer - alleging two Pineville cousins were framed for the murder of a Knox County woman in 2010.
In that case, cousins Amanda Hoskins and Jonathan Taylor claim officers from the state police agency, the Barbourville Police Department and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office “knowingly initiated false charges” based on fabricated evidence.
Hoskins and Taylor spent a total of eight years in jail in connection with the murder of Katherine Mills of Flat Lick, Ky., before the charges against them were dismissed, according to the lawsuit.
They allege in court documents that the officers who investigated Mills’ death “conspired to frame” them despite evidence that implicated two other people, including a police informant.
That lawsuit outlines wide-ranging allegations by law enforcement officers to connect Hoskins and Taylor to the murder instead of other men who failed polygraph tests about their role in the murder. In one instance, the lawsuit claims, officers promised the informant, Allen Helton, that he would not go to jail “as long as he agreed to go along with the false and fabricated statement that they manufactured for him.”
It also accuses officers of altering Hoskins’ medical records to support Helton’s statement and alleges that former Sheriff Pickard and a state police officer promised to “sweep” a man’s drug cases “under the rug” in 2012 if he tied Hoskins and Taylor to the crime.
In the latest lawsuit, Anderson claims, through his attorneys, that investigators knew another man had committed the murder, saying as much during an interrogation of the man.
“The thing is, all my evidence points at you …,” Knox County Sheriff’s Det. Derek Eubanks told James Sizemore at the beginning of his interrogation, according to the lawsuit.
Sizemore even told police where Wiggins’ body could be found and went with investigators to show them, according to the suit.
The lawsuit alleges investigators told Sizemore what to say about the murder, to falsely implicate Anderson and protect the other man who was paying investigators. WDRB is not naming the other man because he has not been charged with a crime.
“The (officers) not only knew that the story was false at the time they were fabricating it, but their later investigation conclusively proved that it was untrue,” according to the lawsuit.
And a detective is accused of bullying and using physical violence against a witness who continued to tell investigators Anderson had nothing to do with the crime, all of which was allegedly caught on video.
Bell County prosecutors were not aware that investigators had manipulated witnesses and fabricated evidence, according to the suit.
Sizemore pleaded guilty to killing Wiggins, whose skull was smashed with a rock and neck slashed 18 times
For years, the officers withheld or destroyed evidence and misled prosecutors with fabricated evidence to continue the prosecution of Anderson, the suit claims.
Six Kentucky State Police officers are also named in the suit, accused, in part of aiding Knox County detectives in obtaining a false confession from a jailhouse informant.
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