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Ted Sanderson
Name Ted Sanderson
Affiliation Suffolk County Parks Golf
Occupation Greensman
Pathology Proxy murderer
Murderer
Family Julie Sanderson (wife; deceased)
Status Imprisoned
Actor Brad William Henke
First Appearance "Strike"

Theodore F. "Ted" Sanderson is a man falsely convicted of personally killing his wife.

Background

Not much is known about Ted, except that he was born on December 12, 1971, and met and married a woman named Julie at some point in his life. Ted attended the Brooklyn Dive Blue school and was certified as an open water diver on August 20, 1991. He grew close with a fellow student, Francis "Frank" Dresner, who was certified the same day and also went to the same pool as Julie. In 1998, Ted discovered Julie was having an affair with someone and was afraid that she would eventually leave him. To fix this, Ted reached out to Frank to have him kill Julie for him. When the job was done and the murder was investigated, Ted told the police about the affair, but claimed that Julie had ended it and they were trying to reconcile. Unfortunately, due to shoddy forensics, the police believed Ted killed Julie himself. As a result, he was arrested and convicted of the crime.

Ted spent nine years in prison until Frank used his connections at Legal Aid to file an appeal in his case. They had DNA samples found under Julie's fingernails tested, and the test conclusively proved it was not be a match to Ted due to the DNA having a genetic marker for cystic fibrosis, which Ted never had. He was released from prison as a result and the judge on his case, Susan Valdera, recommended to Governor Donald Shalvoy that Ted be pardoned for the murder. A year later, Ted learned from Frank that he was having health problems, being forced to use an inhaler, and will have to be tested. Realizing that the test will have Frank diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which would lead the police to Frank and then back to him, Ted decided to kill Frank to eliminate any loose ends. On January 26, 2008, Ted started stalking Frank at his workplace. At the same time, Frank was leading a strike against Legal Aid.

Strike

On January 29, Ted sees Frank heading to the back of the courthouse and realizes it is an opportunity to kill him with no witnesses. After he sees a fight between Frank and a court processor, Ted fatally strikes Frank with his company truck and flees. When Detectives Lupo and Bernard come to a club investigating Frank's murder, Bernard spots Ted, engages in a friendly banter with him, and then leaves with his partner. Lupo and Bernard later come to Ted's house, asking how he got the damage to his truck, and Ted claims that it was like that when it was assigned to him. Lupo asks where he was at the time of the murder; Ted says he was driving to work and denies being at the courthouse. Bernard pulls out a nail apparently stuck in the tread of one of Ted's tires, implying that he was at the courthouse. Caught, Ted admits that he was in the city on that day because he made a wrong turn, but the detectives take him into the station for more questions while they tow his truck away to look for more evidence.

At the station, Lupo implies that Ted went to the courthouse because he wanted to commit a mass shooting at the courthouse as revenge for his wrongful conviction, purportedly with a gun they found in Ted's toolkit. Frank had stumbled onto his plan by recognizing him from the newspapers and tried to stop him, so Ted ran him over by accident. Ted vehemently denies that, accusing them of framing him for murder again just like they did years ago, and angrily telling them to leave him alone. They formally arrest him on firearm possession and use the opportunity to search his house, but the original judge in his case has him released on his own recognizance while awaiting arraignment. Ted returns to his house to find the police concluding a search on it. Ted asks if he can go back inside and Lupo says he can. The detectives later arrest him after they discover Frank killed Julie. As they take him into their squad car, Ted loudly proclaims his innocence.

At arraignment, he explains to the judge that he cannot afford to hire a lawyer, and due to the Legal Aid strike, there is a backlog of available public defenders, so it would take the state weeks to find him a lawyer who could represent Ted. To temporarily remedy this, the judge has ADA Rubirosa represent him for the arraignment until another attorney can take her place with Ted's permission. Ted pleads not guilty and is arraigned on $100,000. He tells Rubirosa that he is innocent as preparation for her to argue his case. Rubirosa clarifies that she was only representing him for arraignment and another lawyer will be assigned to him in due time. Unsatisfied with this, Ted files a pro se motion to have Rubirosa reappointed as his attorney. In court, Ted cites People v. Richardson as precedence where the court held "a defense attorney can't resign without the client's consent", and therefore, Rubirosa is still his attorney until Ted fires her.

In response to this, Rubirosa and EADA Cutter argue that the judge only wanted her to represent him for arraignment to satisfy due process. The judge, however, takes due process for the defendant into consideration and grants Ted's motion to retain Rubirosa as his lawyer, after Rubirosa admits that everything she knows about the case would be learned in discovery. Later on, in a meeting with Rubirosa, Ted again tells her that he is innocent and claims that Frank was the man sleeping with his wife, having discovered this after he was released from prison by looking through some of Julie's old papers. After that, he had started following Frank, but didn't follow him on the day he was killed. He also claims that he didn't know Frank killed Julie. Rubirosa is skeptical of this, considering his previous statement to the police and the fact that he recently had his work van detailed. In response, Ted says he was actually at the courthouse three days prior to the murder, where he recently ran over a dog on Staten Island while intoxicated behind the wheel; he didn't report it because he didn't want to lose his job. Rubirosa says that she will start looking into his story, and Ted thanks her.

Later on, the DA's Office finds evidence supporting the fact that Ted had been stalking Frank and could have seen him use his inhaler. In light of this discovery, Cutter offers Ted a deal to plead him out on vehicular homicide with a sentence of eight-and-a-third to 25 years in prison. In response, Rubirosa points out that Ted couldn't read what kind of inhaler Frank was using and wouldn't know what it was for. After being granted a minute with Ted, Rubirosa confronts him about his lie. Ted then confesses to killing Frank but tells Rubirosa that he killed him in revenge for Julie's murder and for stealing nine years of his life. When Rubirosa asks about the dog he mentioned, Ted explains that he found a dead dog near the golf course and took it to Staten Island, making up the story of hitting it while drunk. Ted pleads with her, saying that he can't go back to prison. Moved by his plea, Rubirosa continues to help him and they reject the deal.

At trial, Rubirosa moves to exclude the tape after Bernard exclaims that Ted knew Frank killed his wife because he saw the inhaler. Rubirosa explains that, given the way the case is now, if the tape is excluded, Cutter would most likely offer Ted probation. Ted is excited by this and mentions going to a beach in Belize, Turneffe Island, to go diving, and then thanks Rubirosa for everything she has done. She later tells Ted that the judge ultimately denied her motion, but Cutter's original offer is back on the table. Ted refuses to consider the deal and insists on going back to trial. Rubirosa then reveals that she figured out the truth and explains her theory that Ted had his wife killed and then personally killed Frank so he wouldn't go back to prison. Ted denies everything and thinks that Rubirosa will ruin the case if he doesn't take the deal. She says that she is his attorney and will defend him no matter what, then says that the deal Cutter is offering is a good one. Ted ultimately accepts it and is sent back to prison.

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