An Okawville man convicted of lying to police during an investigation into an overdose death shouldn’t have a public defender because he’s getting $4,500 per month from a settlement, according to the prosecutor in the case.
The defendant, Shane Lindsay, was originally scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. A Washington County jury in August convicted the 22-year-old of obstructing justice. They found him guilty of lying to police who were investigating the death of 18-year-old Dakota Ellerbusch, of Ashley.
The sentencing was postponed because Lindsay’s public defender, Dennis Hatch, filed a motion asking for a new trial. In response, State’s Attorney Daniel Bronke argued that he needs more time to prepare a response to that motion.
Bronke, in a separate motion, argues that Lindsay should no longer be represented by Hatch, who is a former judge and prosecutor. Bronke argued that Lindsay has received almost $9,000 in settlement money in the past two months and can afford his own legal counsel.
The prosecutor’s motion says Lindsay’s father testified at trial that, as of Aug. 1, Lindsay was to begin receiving “$4,500 per month for the remainder of his life as part of a settlement/annuity.”
According to the father’s testimony, the settlement stems from a lawsuit against a hospital. Lindsay’s mother died a few days after he was born.
Hatch was appointed in May to represent Lindsay after Lindsay claimed he could not afford an attorney.
Bronke’s motion also noted that on Aug. 31, Lindsay posted $575 for a woman in Marion County to be released on bond in a DUI case.
“It appears that the defendant has sufficient funds available to him to bond other individuals out of jail, and as such calls into question his inability to afford an attorney,” Bronke argued in the motion.
Ellerbusch’s grandather found him dead in a family cabin in rural Washington County.
Lindsay originally faced five charges in connection with the death, including drug-induced homicide. During the trial, Judge Daniel Emge threw out three of the five charges, including the drug-induced homicide charge. Jurors then found Lindsay guilty only of obstructing justice. They acquitted him on the other remaining charge: concealing a death.
“It’s a stab in the back every way you go,” John Ellerbusch, Dakota Ellerbusch’s grandfather, said outside the courthouse Thursday. “I don’t know where we’re going to go from here.”
Steve Hrabusicky, Dakota Ellerbusch’s uncle, said officials bungled the case.
“If you want to commit murder, do it in Washington County. Because you’ll get away with it,” he said.
Coroner Mark Styninger has said the judge doomed the prosecution’s case against Lindsay by throwing out a toxicology report showing what drugs were in Ellerbusch’s system when he died.
A new date for the sentencing was not immediately set.
BND reporter Dana Rieck contributed to this report.