CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Attorney General has asked appeals court to continue state's ban on gay marriage
Wisconsin's attorney general has asked a federal appeals court to continue the state's ban on gay marriage. J-B Van Hollen filed an appeal of last month's ruling from Federal Judge Barbara Crabb, who said the ban was unconstitutional. The state had until July 21st to file its appeal with the Seventh Circuit appellate court in Chicago -- but Van Hollen acted sooner than he planned yesterday, after the same court agreed to speed up its consideration of a similar case in Indiana. Van Hollen said he wanted to make sure Wisconsin was on an equal legal footing with Indiana, and that the state's case gets timely consideration. Over 550 same-sex couples got married in Wisconsin after Crabb threw out the gay marriage ban, and before she put the ruling on hold while it's being appealed. The main plaintiff in the case, the A-C-L-U, has asked Crabb to drop her stay and allow same-sex marriages to continue for now. She has not ruled on that request. Yesterday, A-C-L-U attorney John Knight said he was disappointed that the state's still fighting to stop "loving committed couples" from marrying. Governor Scott Walker is a defendant in the case, so he technically joined Van Hollen in the appeal. However, the Republican Walker is trying to keep the issue out of his re-election campaign, by saying his past opposition to gay marriage no longer matters because it's in the courts' hands.
A man who killed a cook at a George Webb restaurant in Milwaukee has been found guilty of a lesser charge. A jury spared 29-year-old Delorean Bryson of a possible life prison sentence, by convicting him of first-degree reckless homicide yesterday instead of intentional homicide. He faces up to 40 years in prison and 20 years of extended supervision when he's sentenced on August 20th. Bryson was convicted of shooting 21-year-old Reginald Evans, who came out of the restaurant's kitchen to break up a brawl last December. Authorities said Bryson and several others were terrorizing customers at the time. Three other defendants face separate trials on lesser charges ranging from disorderly conduct to harboring a felon. During his four-day trial, Bryson testified that he shot his weapon to protect his cousin who was being threatened -- and he didn't know that he hit Evans. Bryson's family members apologized to the victim's family. They said Bryson regretted what happened, and they were still in shock over it.
A bicyclist was killed after he collided with a pick-up truck in central Wisconsin. Waupaca County authorities said the two were traveling in the same lane when the bike made a sharp right turn into the path of the truck. It happened late yesterday morning on a rural road in the town of Union near Manawa (man'-uh-wuh). The cyclist was from rural Manawa, but his name was not immediately released. He suffered massive head injuries and died at the scene. He was not wearing a helmet. Sheriff's officials said they do not expect the truck driver to be charged with anything.
A court martial has been ordered for a Coast Guard officer accused of having abusive sexual contact with a female staffer while he was working in Milwaukee. The Coast Guard said yesterday that charges against Petty Officer Joshua Raymond would be referred to a general court martial. That was after a review that's similar to a grand jury hearing. The court martial will be held in Cleveland. The date has not been set. Raymond was accused of having improper sexual contact with a fellow service member at a party last November in Wauwatosa. He was transferred to Grand Haven Michigan after that. His attorney says Raymond will plead innocent to all charges.
An S-U-V driver faces possible felony charges, after her vehicle struck another unit in which two people were killed at a busy Milwaukee intersection. It happened around 5:30 yesterday afternoon during the city's rush hour. Milwaukee Police said a 62-year-old woman was driving the S-U-V when it drove through a red light and collided with a vehicle coming from her left. Two other drivers also got involved in the crash. A 54-year-old woman, a 53-year-old man, and the S-U-V driver were all taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Killed were a 52-year-old driver and a 45-year-old passenger in one of the two initial units that collided. The S-U-V driver is in custody. Police said she could be charged with two counts of negligent homicide.
A man sought as a witness to the deaths of two elderly people in Iowa has been picked up in La Crosse. Forty-four Jonathan Neunaber was detained last night, after he was stopped for a traffic violation. He was held on a warrant from Iowa, as a material witness in what authorities call suspicious deaths. Officials said two older people were found dead on Wednesday, and Neunaber lives at the home where the bodies were discovered near Akron in northwest Iowa. Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo has not identified the victims. He said Neunaber might know what may have transpired before, during, or after the deaths. The sheriff stressed that Neunaber has not been charged with anything.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld the reversal of a murder conviction against a Milwaukee man, which was based on statements he made as part of a plea deal in another case. On a 4-to-3 vote yesterday, the justices ruled that a defendant's statements during plea negotiations cannot later be used against the person if the plea deal was never finalized. The case involved Raphfeal Myrick, who was offered a reduction in charges in a 2009 murder, if he testified against another defendant in a 2007 slaying. During a preliminary hearing, Myrick implicated himself in the 2009 murder -- and he later backed out of the deal and was sentenced to life in prison. Myrick argued that his testimony at the prelim should not have been used against him, because state law prohibits statements made in plea negotiations to be used against a defendant later, regardless of whether a final plea agreement was achieved. An appellate court sided with Myrick earlier.
A suburban Milwaukee man killed in a two-vehicle crash in central Wisconsin has been identified as 74-year-old Michael Wess of West Allis. The State Patrol said his van pulled from a stop-sign, and collided with a semi-truck coming from his left. The crash happened Wednesday afternoon near Wild Rose on Highway 22 at Waushara County Trunk "P." Wess died at the scene. The 52-year-old trucker from Peshtigo was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.