Court voids crime spree conviction

  • Article by: KEVIN GILES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 7, 2012 - 11:26 PM

Cops questioned man after he invoked right to silence.

The armored car robbery conviction of a Wisconsin man who was also implicated in a near-fatal shooting in Washington County has been overturned by a Wisconsin appeals court.

Zachary Wiegand received a sentence of 26 1/2 years in prison for armed robbery and arson in Hudson, Wis., a crime that came a day after he shot a Lake Elmo woman four times during a carjacking in Oakdale.

Wiegand had pleaded guilty in November 2009 to stealing $238,000 at gunpoint from two security guards and setting fire to the stolen getaway car -- the same vehicle he seized in Oakdale. The crimes occurred in May 2003.

The appeals court reversal, released Tuesday, said when Wiegand invoked his constitutional right to remain silent, a police interrogator continued to press him with more questions.

"This is a straightforward case," the court concluded. "During the course of a custodial interrogation, [Officer Jeff] Knopps asked Wiegand a question meant to elicit an incriminating response. Wiegand responded, 'I don't want to say anything more.' We discern no ambiguity in the meaning of that statement."

Wiegand, son of a Hudson police officer, pleaded guilty earlier in 2009 for shooting Julie Bever while attempting to force her out of her vehicle as she was driving home from her daughter's softball game. One of the bullets hit her in the face.

Wiegand was sentenced to 12 years in a Minnesota prison on that crime -- a sentence that would follow the Wisconsin sentence.

Statements that Wiegand made to police in Wisconsin after invoking his right to silence can't be used in any subsequent circuit court actions, the appeals court said.

Tuesday's decision is subject to Wisconsin Supreme Court review.

Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037 Twitter: @stribgiles

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