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Sander to use alibi defense

Defense attorneys for Thomas Sander will use an alibi defense, citing testimony from three people, in his upcoming trial on felony charges of arson and endangering by fire.

In depositions held June 5 and 6, Trinity High School board member Rich Holgaard, religion teacher Robert Storey and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms special agent Derek Hill gave information establishing a timeline proving Sander was at his home when the arsonist was inside the school, according to a court filing today.

Sander was renting a room in Holgaard’s home, near Trinity High School, at the time of the fire.

Since Trinity was set ablaze in early March, students have been displaced and former principal Sander has been the main suspect. But his lawyers have alleged rights violations and have brought to light another lead investigators allegedly ignored.

Sander’s trial is scheduled to begin July 23 but a July 1 hearing, for Southwest Judicial District Judge William Herauf to determine whether a confession and other interview material from Sander will be suppressed, could affect the state’s case.