INDIANAPOLIS – Prosecutors can pursue the death penalty against a man accused of shooting and killing an Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer in 2020.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner denied a motion to dismiss the death penalty against Eillahs Dorsey. Dorsey faces multiple charges, including murder, in the shooting death of IMPD Officer Breann Leath.

Leath responded to a domestic violence call in April 2020. Prosecutors said Dorsey shot and killed her.

Breann Leath/IMPD

Dorsey told police he didn’t know Leath was a police officer. He thought someone was coming to get him and didn’t look to see who it was. Because of that, he and his attorneys believe the death penalty should be eliminated as an option and filed a motion to dismiss it.

Stoner, having conducted an evidentiary hearing and arguments in the case, denied the motion to dismiss the death penalty. The judge had faced calls from Prosecutor Ryan Mears to recuse himself from the case.

In order to seek the death penalty under the aggravating factor of killing a police officer, the state must prove Dorsey had actual knowledge that Leath was a law enforcement officer, Stoner said.

In his order denying the motion to dismiss the death penalty, Stoner wrote that the court found the state had “some evidence” it could present to jurors that met the standard.

He made no judgment on the strength of the evidence, noting that was up to the jury:

For a motion to dismiss, it is not for the Court to weigh the evidence or make a credibility determination: that rests exclusively with the jury if the evidence is properly submitted to them. The Court simply must determine whether there is some evidence from which the jury could infer actual knowledge on the Defendant’s behalf.

Judge’s order from May 11, 2023

Dorsey’s trial is scheduled for Sept. 18, according to court records.