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Prosecutor wants death penalty in killing of IMPD Officer Breann Leath

Elliahs Dorsey is accused of murdering Officer Leath on April 9, 2020, while she and three other officers were responding to a disturbance call.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will seek the death penalty against Elliahs Dorsey in the deadly shooting of IMPD Officer Breann Leath. Dorsey is accused of murdering Officer Leath on April 9, 2020, while she and three other officers were responding to a domestic violence call involving Dorsey.

The prosecutor is looking for the death penalty, saying the killing happened while Officer Leath "was acting in the course of duty as a law enforcement officer."

Leath’s family said they were consulted about options for the trial and collectively wanted to pursue the death penalty.

“You hurt somebody, you shoot them and kill them there are consequences to that and I feel like we should make that point,” said Jennifer Leath, Breann’s mother. “I just want justice. I feel like if we could get some kind of justice for her and it will help us heal.”

Both of Leath’s parents did go to the court proceedings Tuesday where the decision was announced. It was the first time they saw their daughter's suspected killer in person.

“We wanted to get a feel and see what kind of guy. Was he arrogant or was he remorseful or just didn’t care,” said Tommy Leath. “The first time looking at him, I really couldn’t get a tell on that.”

IMPD released a department statement about the prosecutor's decision:

“While many will focus on the person accused of this crime, the attention this announcement brings is an opportunity to again reflect on all that Officer Breann Leath gave to her community in her all-too-short time with us. It is an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices her family made and the loss they will forever feel so that people they will never meet could be safer. 

“Officer Leath demonstrated what it means to be a dedicated public servant, and set an example that we all strive to live up to every day. She was committed to her community and giving back. She was committed to helping victims of domestic violence. She was committed to running towards danger when others would run away. She was committed to helping her fellow man, woman, and child. 

“Officer Breann Leath will always represent the spirit of IMPD and will always be remembered.”

Leath was a mother and just 24 years old when she was killed. She had been with IMPD for more than two years. Leath had wanted to be a police officer like her father since she was young.

Credit: WTHR

In her honor, IMPD launched the LEATH Initiative in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana. LEATH stands for Law Enforcement Action to Halt domestic violence against men, women and children. 

The LEATH Initiative will target domestic violence offenders who commit crimes with illegally owned guns. Those who have a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, are the subject of a final protective order, or have a state or federal felony conviction will be at the center of the investigations.

Federal law prohibits previous domestic violence offenders from legally possessing firearms or ammunition. Violators could face up to 10 years in federal prison.

The LEATH Initiative will also work to support victims of domestic violence. Officers will connect domestic survivors and witnesses with social services in their communities to help.

Leath would have turned 25 on Dec. 30, 2020.

"It's been rough, really. I am just looking forward to the days that her memories don’t hurt," said Jennifer Leath, Breann's mother, after her birthday.

On her birthday, IMPD North District made a touching post on Facebook asking people to "keep her son and family in your thoughts today." 

The post goes on to say how much the department misses Leath and asks everyone to do something kind for others in her honor. 

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