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Crime and Court Roundup: Anti-abortion activist found guilty of intentional homicide

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Pierce County Herald
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Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

Marshfield anti-abortion activist Ralph Lang was found guilty last night of plotting to kill an abortion doctor in Madison. A Dane County jury deliberated for about two hours before convicting the 65-year-old Lang of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Lang showed no emotion when the verdict was read at the end of a two-day trial. He's expected to be sentenced in about two months, although an exact date has not been set. Lang still faces additional federal charges in the case, in which he was arrested in May of 2011 after telling a motel clerk that he accidentally shot a bullet through the door of his motel room. Lang testified that he planned to shoot an abortion doctor the next day at the nearby Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison - and he was making plans to kill abortion doctors for years. Lang told jurors he wished he had a machine gun so he could quote, "mow down" the clinic's entire staff. He called abortion "evil" and "intrinsically wrong," and he follows the Ten Commandments with the exception of his desire to kill abortionists. A prosecutor told jurors that Lang was practicing with his gun when he fired the shot at the motel. When he told a clerk about it, he had no idea police would come and arrest him.

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A second suspect was arrested yesterday in the murders of three people in Racine almost eight years ago. Authorities in Memphis said 31-year-old Demetrus Ozier was in the process of getting a fake I-D at a Tennessee motor vehicle office. U-S Marshals said they caught him with a packet of false identification documents and arrested him. Ozier was being sought on two counts of homicide and four charges of attempted homicide. He's being held at a county jail in Memphis before he can be extradited back to Racine. Frank Mister, Aaron Woods, and Ryan Lockridge - all 23 - were shot-to-death in July of 2005 at a Racine parking lot in a conflict over a rigged dice game. Four others were wounded in the incident. The other suspect is 29-year-old Juwan Matthews of Racine. Authorities said there was not enough evidence to press charges at the time of the shootings - but police say they've since had great cooperation from tipsters who led investigators to potential evidence. Matthews is jailed under a half-million dollar bond. He's due back in court in mid-June for a preliminary hearing.

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An Antigo man has been ordered to stand trial, after authorities said he was driving a pick-up truck while his girlfriend fell out and later died. 27-year-old Brandon Bender is charged in Marathon County with felony reckless endangerment, and a misdemeanor count of driving under a restricted controlled substance. Prosecutors said Bender and 27-year-old Catherine Borchardt of Wittenberg drank at several Wausau area bars - and Bender also reportedly smoked marijuana - before driving his pick-up into Elderon on April seventh. Officials said Bender first claimed that his girlfriend was the driver when the vehicle took a hard left turn and she fell out - but he later changed his story. Bender was earlier charged with causing injury by drunk driving. That count was dropped after prosecutors looked at surveillance video. At a preliminary hearing yesterday, a sheriff's detective said Borchardt could have survived her head injuries had she received immediate emergency care - but she didn't. Bender is free on a signature bond. He must stay at home except for work and other conditions. The next step in Bender's case is a plea hearing. The date for that was not immediately set.

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