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January 27, 2012 10:00 PM

Officer Focus Of Lawsuit Over Fiancé's Death

Sioux Falls, SD


A Brandon Police Officer is the focus of a negligence lawsuit in the death of his former fiancé.

Brandon Police Officer Tyler Carda was engaged to Kristi Denny in 2008, but shortly after they broke off the engagement Denny died of a gunshot wound in their apartment.

Her death was ruled a suicide, but Denny's family is suing Carda because they say he left his loaded gun lying in the apartment and that is the gun that killed her.

Denny had just left treatment for an addiction to prescription pills a few days before she died of a gunshot wound to the head.

The only person in the apartment at the time she died was Carda, his attorneys say that her death was a suicide, but the question the courts are trying to answer is if Carda played any role in her death.

Denny's family has filed a negligence lawsuit saying that Carda's negligent actions led to her death.

Friday in court Mike Luce, the family's attorney, said that Carda left his Brandon Police Department issued gun laying loaded on the floor of the computer room in their apartment for two and a half days before the gun was used to kill Denny.

Luce argues that as a trained police officer Carda should have unloaded his gun and locked it up, especially when he knew his former fiancé had just left treatment. In this case Luce says Carda didn't follow any of those steps and because he didn't follow the proper procedures Denny died of a gunshot wound.

Attorneys for Carda are responding to the lawsuit by simply saying that Denny's death was a suicide and they have the suicide note to prove it.

The case is headed for a jury trial and the courts will ultimately decide if Carda had anything to do with his former fiancé’s death.

Another wrinkle that's been thrown into this case is that gun residue was found on the palm of Carda's hand when Denny's family had independent testing done.

Carda's attorneys say he was in the shower when Denny committed suicide. An expert is scheduled to testify on that topic during the trial.

It was also said in court that the gunshot wound was to the right side of Denny's head and she is left handed.

Carda is still currently a member of the Brandon Police force.
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