The father of 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson was in shock when a judge ruled that a Missouri state trooper who pled guilty to the drowning death of his son would only receive 10 days in prison. “Ten days is like a vacation,” Craig Ellingson said to The Kansas City Star. “It’s a joke. He knows he’s guilty and he’s damn lucky to get what he got.”
According to the outlet, Anthony Piercy, an 18-year highway patrol veteran, must also complete two years probation and 50 hours of community service as part of his sentence. At the time of Ellingson’s death, Piercy had recently begun doing boat patrol when his department started working with safety patrol.
In 2014, Piercy arrested Ellingson on Lake of the Ozarks for suspicion of boating while intoxicated. According to reports, Piercy handcuffed him and put him in a life vest incorrectly. The vest reportedly came off when Ellingson was knocked off the boat when a wave struck, leading him to drown. On Tuesday (Sept. 19) during sentencing, Craig Ellingson faced Piercy for the first time and didn’t hold back his grief and anger.
“Anthony Piercy, it has been almost 3 1/2 years that I’ve waited to tell you face-to-face that you’re the reason why my son Brandon is dead,” he said according to The Kansas City Star. “You had no compassion for my son.”
Piercy pled guilty to a lesser boating charge in connection with Ellingson’s death, avoiding an involuntary manslaughter charge. He addressed Ellingson’s father and apologized for his part in his son’s death.
“I apologize for the loss that I have caused the Ellingson family,” Piercy reportedly said from the defense table. “I know that nothing that I will say will ease the pain that they are feeling. I will never forget that I am the cause of that pain. I am truly sorry for that. Brandon should be here with them today. Thank you.”
Prosecutors were upset with Judge Roger Prokes’ ruling; they had pushed for a 30-day sentence and having Piercy’s law-enforcement certificate revoked for life. As of now, Piercy is still with the department but on unpaid leave.