Suspect in Niblo investigation back in court for property
ABILENE, Texas - Nearly a year since Thomas Niblo was murdered in his Abilene home, the only named suspect in the case, Luke Sweetser, returned to a Taylor County courtroom Monday to once again try and retrieve items seized by the Abilene Police Department during the investigation.
No arrests have been made in the murder, but Sweetser was charged with theft of a firearm after police said they found several stolen guns in his possession.
"They searched his storage building, his office, his vehicle, they took computers and phones and clothing and all kinds of things -- which they still have -- and refuse to return any of it, even though no incriminating evidence has come forth sufficient to formally accuse my client," said Lynn Ingalsbe, Sweetser's attorney. "So I guess they're just going to keep this stuff forever."
Two warrants were executed in the days following Niblo's murder on December 12.
"The search warrants in question don't authorize the seizure of anything," said Ingalsbe.
Among the items seized during the murder investigation were guns belonging to a local attorney. These guns, found in a storage facility, led to Sweetser's charge.
Ingalsbe says those items were unlawfully seized, and added that a motion to suppress the evidence is set to take place Wednesday.
"The search warrant [that] authorizes the search of the safe is void for the same reason that the others are," said Ingalsbe.
No decision was made today due to a jurisdiction issue. The judge gave Ingalsbe 20 days to refile the plea. After December 11, the hearing will be reset.
APD had no comment regarding Monday's hearing. Their only response was that the Niblo murder remains an active investigation.
At no point in the investigation has Sweetser been charged with murder.