A Missouri Highway Patrol trooper was charged Friday in the 2014 death of Brandon Ellingson, who drowned in the Lake of the Ozarks with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Special prosecutor William Camm Seay announced the charge of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree against Trooper Anthony Piercy outside the Morgan County Justice Center. The charge is a Class C felony carrying a punishment of up to seven years in prison, up to a year in the county jail, a $5,000 fine or a combination of those.

Piercy’s actions that day were reckless, said Seay, a former circuit judge and prosecuting attorney.

“I have reviewed boxes and boxes of reports and records in regard to Mr. Piercy’s training and experience and everything that was done in the investigation,” he said. “I have charged him (Piercy) with recklessly causing the death. … It relates to an unjustifiable risk being taken.”

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