Legal Issues and Criminal Charges and Law

Former deputy prosecutor escapes jail time in sentencing

November 25, 2013

A federal judge on Monday morning sentenced Marion County's former chief deputy prosecutor to three years of probation, six months of home detention and community service over federal bribery charges.

David Wyser pleaded guilty in July to charges of accepting a $2,500 bribe in 2009 from a prisoner's father to reduce her 70-year sentence on murder charges. She was released after 18 years in prison.

Prosecutors requested leniency for Wyser, citing his cooperation in an investigation of his ex-boss, former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.

Federal prosecutors announced in October that Brizzi wouldn't face charges that he accepted bribes while in office.

The case against Wyser centered on the early release of Paula Willoughby, who had been convicted in a murder-for-hire scheme. Her father, Harrison Epperly, made large political contributions to Brizzi and Wyser as their office was considering a potential sentence modification.

Willoughby was sentenced to 110 years in prison in 1991 after her husband was gunned down outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. An appeal shrank the sentence to 70 years. The modification cut it to time served, and Willoughby was freed in July 2009.

Epperly gave at least $29,000 to Brizzi from 2006 to 2008, and also donated $2,500 to Wyser. The latter came in 2009, before the filing of the sentence modification in court.

The charging document alleged that a $2,500 contribution to Wyser was "a reward for his sentence modification recommendation" in the Willoughby case.

Both Brizzi and Wyser later returned their donations, many of which came through Epperly’s company EMSP LLC.

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