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Man accused of killing IMPD officer seeks insanity plea

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The man accused of killing an IMPD officer is now seeking an insanity defense. This comes after a judge ruled he could face the death penalty.

28-year-old Elliahs Dorsey is charged with murdering Officer Breann Leath. She responded to a 911 domestic disturbance call at an east side apartment involving Dorsey in April 2020.

Attorneys for Elliahs Dorsey filed a motion with the court Wednesday. It stated a doctor’s report concludes Dorsey was suffering from a mental illness when he fatally shot Leath.

RELATED: Prosecutor’s office seeks death penalty for man accused of killing IMPD officer

According to records, police knocked on the door twice, and Dorsey shot through the door.

Dorsey shot Leath in the head twice and died at a hospital.

In a request for the death penalty, filed in January 2021, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office cites Dorsey shooting Leath while she was “acting in the course of her duty as a law enforcement officer” as an aggravating circumstance that warrants the death penalty.

A timeline before IMPD officer insanity plea

In January 2023, the Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the request for a death penalty sentence. They argued that the State cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendent knew Breann Leath was officer.

Judge Mark Stoner is presiding over the case.

He voiced concerns on allowing the death penalty for the case without evidence.

The prosecution and defense had until March 30 to present more evidence.

According to Dorsey’s lawyers, the officers did not announce themselves as police before Dorsey fired shots through the door.

They argue that a defendant can only be sentenced to death for murdering a law enforcement officer if the defendant knew he was shooting at law enforcement. 

Debating the death penalty

RELATED: 24-year-old IMPD officer killed in line of duty

Court records show the State and the Defense held a hearing with Judge Mark Stoner on March 17. This came after the State motioned for the death penalty and the Defense motioned to dismiss the death sentence.

The State accuses Judge Stoner of showing “bias and prejudice” against the State in this hearing which “prevents the State from continuing to seek a fair and just resolution to this case.”

The prosecutor’s office claims Judge Stoner overstepped by asking for them to prove that the case warranted the death penalty before the trial.

The judge commented that the issue could be a violation of ethics. 

Mears filed a request to have the judge recused following his response during a hearing to dismiss the death penalty from the case.

Stoner ruled May 12 that prosecutors can seek the death penalty against Dorsey after rejecting the prosecution’s request that he step down from the case.

Since her death

Since her death The Law Enforcement Action to Halt Domestic Violence (LEATH) initiative was named in honor of Officer Breann Leath.

In a partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the IMPD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, the LEATH Initiative focuses federal, state and local law enforcement resources on domestic violence offenders who illegally possess firearms.

It began the same year Leath was killed and recognizes the danger posed by firearms in the hands of domestic abusers.

Dorsey’s pretrial conference is June 2.

His trial is set to begin September 18. 

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON

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