Defense requests statements to be dismissed in Grundy Center trooper murder case

A crew removes debris from Michael Thomas Lang's residence days after an armored vehicle rammed into it during a standoff with Lang in April. (File photo)
Jake Ryder
The Grundy Register

GRUNDY CENTER - The defense attorney for a Grundy Center man accused of killing a state trooper in April has filed a motion requesting that the court throw out statements he made to investigators in the days following the shooting.

In the motion, the defense attorneys state that Michael Thomas Lang, 42, was recovering in an Iowa City hospital from injuries sustained in the shootout with authorities, including a head wound, at the time of the investigators' conversations with Lang.

"During each interview, it is clear Mr. Lang is under duress from his injuries and medicated such that no waiver obtained law enforcement was knowingly and voluntarily made," defense attorney Aaron Hawbaker a motion filed on Dec. 22.

The motion goes on to state that as a result, Lang did not offer a valid waiver of his Miranda rights - which protect suspects from self-incrimination and allow for an attorney to be present for questioning, and that the State of Iowa should be denied use of these statements in their case against Lang.

Authorities allege Lang got into a struggle with a Grundy Center officer on April 9, then fled to his home where a standoff resulted in Lang shooting and killing State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith when authorities entered the house to detain Lang. A SWAT team was able to gain entrance to the home and Lang was hospitalized with several gunshot wounds, including one to the head, and an eye injury. Lang is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault on a peace officer.

According to court records, investigators attempted to interview Lang on April 10 in the hospital, but were informed by hospital staff that Lang was in no condition to speak. They returned to interview Lang on each of the following four days, April 11-14.

Lang's defense has also requested that the court order the Black Hawk County Sheriff to arrange for prescription eyewear for Lang, who has worn prescription glasses since the fifth grade, to allow him to read materials provided to him by his counsel.

The defense also has a motion pending since late October requesting that Lang's trial be moved outside of Grundy County.


The Grundy Register

601 G. Avenue - P.O. Box 245
Grundy Center, IA 50638
Telephone: 1-319-824-6958
Fax: 1-800-340-0805

Mid-America Publishing

This newspaper is part of the Mid-America Publishing Family. Please visit for more information.