July 31, 2014

AG Bruning defends troopers in false accusation settlement

Attorney General Jon Bruning says the state reached a settlement with two people falsely accused in the murders of a southeast Nebraska couple in 2006 to avoid greater liability in the case.

Around $2.6 million will go to Matthew Livers and Nicholas Sampson.

Bruning lays all the blame for the false charges filed against Livers and Sampson at the feet of Douglas County investigator David Kofoed, who was convicted of faking DNA evidence to bolster the case against the two.

“And it’s a bit of a perverse result, because all of the fault of course is with Kofoed and is planting of evidence,” Bruning tells reporters during a news conference held on another topic at the state Capitol.

Cass County will pay $1.5 million of the settlement. The state will pay $975,000. Douglas County will chip in $125,000, because Kofoed served as an investigator for the county at the time.

The state could have been exposed to an even more costly settlement, according to Bruning.

Livers will receive $1.65 million. Sampson will receive $965,000.

Livers recanted a confession that he and Sampson killed Wayne and Sharon Stock in their rural Murdock farmhouse, accusing the two troopers and investigators with Cass County of coercing the confession out of him.

Bruning deflects any question of guilt in the false charges away from the troopers.

“Listen, the issue here was Kofoed’s malfeasance. We have a dirty cop and that poisons the entire case; one. And, in my mind, this is all on Kofoed,” Bruning says.

Eventually, Jessica Reid and Gregory Fester II were convicted in the murders. The Wisconsin couple was convicted of killing the two during a late-night break-in and robbery while passing through Nebraska.