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Appeals court throws out confession in crime spree conviction

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A court gavel
A court gavel

WAUSAU, WI (WTAQ) - A man convicted in a 2003 crime spree in the Hudson and Saint Paul areas had a confession against him thrown out today. The state’s Third District Court of Appeals in Wausau said a gun that police found in Minneapolis five years after the crime spree should not have been used against 35-year-old Zachary Wiegand. The appellate judges said officers improperly coaxed him into confessing that he had the weapon, after he invoked his Miranda rights to remain silent. Officers later obtained a search warrant and seized the weapon, and it helped convict Wiegand of armed robbery and arson – for which he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Authorities said he shot and wounded a woman in Lake Elmo Minnesota, stole the mini-van of a woman who stopped to help the victim, robbed an armored car in Hudson the next day, and then burned the mini-van later in a Hudson cemetery. Wiegand was sentenced to 13 years for his Minnesota crimes. $238,000 was stolen in the armored car heist – and both Wiegand and his wife Debra were ordered to pay that money back. Debra was given 15 years of probation for her involvement in the Wisconsin crimes. According to Tuesday's court ruling, Wiegand told one officer during his interrogation that he wanted a lawyer – and a second officer who said he worked with Wiegand’s father told the suspect he was only trying to him – and that apparently was enough to get him to spew out the confession. The case now goes back to the circuit court – and whatever evidence that was based on Wiegand’s confession must now be thrown out.

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