Convicted child killer Ivan Henk will get another day in court.
In a ruling released Thursday, the Nebraska Supreme Court granted Henk an evidentiary hearing after he alleged that former Douglas County CSI Director Dave Kofoed violated his civil rights as the crime lab investigated the death of Henk’s son, 4-year-old son Brendan Gonzalez.
Henk is serving a life term after he pleaded guilty in 2005 to killing the Plattsmouth boy.
In 2010, Kofoed was convicted of evidence tampering in an unrelated murder case, the 2006 shotgun slayings of Murdock farmers Wayne and Sharmon Stock.
Henk’s lawyer, Jerry Soucie, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, asking to return Henk’s case to the district court judge for a hearing on the evidence.
Henk argued that Kofoed planted blood evidence in a Bellevue trash bin where Brendan’s body was allegedly placed five months earlier.
The high court agreed with Soucie’s motion in an eight-page opinion.
The court noted that Henk made detailed, factual allegations about planted blood evidence and falsified reports. The justices also noted that in a separate criminal case against Kofoed, it was determined that Kofoed falsified evidence in Henk’s case.
In March 2010, Cass County District Court Judge Randall Rehmeier concluded that Kofoed had planted blood evidence in the 2006 slayings of the Stocks and that there also was “clear and convincing” evidence Kofoed had planted blood in June 2003.
At that time, Kofoed reported finding a perfect DNA profile of Brendan on garbage that Kofoed had pulled out of a trash bin in Bellevue.
In its opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that Henk is entitled to a hearing to air the issue because, if the allegations are proven, they could constitute a violation of his civil rights.
In his motion to the Supreme Court, Soucie called the blood sample a “critical piece of evidence” for the prosecution.
Before Kofoed was convicted of evidence tampering, however, Sarpy County District Judge Max Kelch rejected Henk’s appeal, noting that he had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
The judge ruled that on “several separate occasions, one in an open court proceeding, and another to law enforcement officers following the court hearing,” Henk admitted killing Brendan.
Henk, at one court appearance, yelled that he killed Brendan because he was the anti-Christ and had 666 on his forehead.
Soucie said Thursday he was pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Soucie made oral arguments before the court in November 2010.
“The Supreme Court decided not to just sweep this matter under the rug,” Soucie said. “It means that Ivan Henk now has an opportunity to show Dave Kofoed planted evidence. I think that can easily be proven.”