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CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Couple who prayed, instead of getting medical help for child, hopes to avoid jail time

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

A Wausau area couple is expected to make their final attempt to stay out of jail this afternoon, for praying instead of getting medical help while their young daughter died. Dale and Leilani Neumann of Weston are scheduled to appear in Marathon County Circuit Court on motions for their final sentences. They were allowed to stay free while they appealed their 2009 convictions for reckless homicide. Those appeals ran out last month, when the U-S Supreme Court refused to consider the case. Now, prosecutors will ask a judge to make the Neumanns finally serve the time they were ordered to serve in '09 -- a month in jail each year for six years, plus 10 years of probation and community service. Defense lawyer Steven Miller recently said both Neumanns have suffered enough. They've been assessed over 72-thousand dollars in court costs, for their separate 2009 trials which convicted them in the death of their 11-year-old daughter Kara Neumann. She died on Easter Sunday of 2008 from complications of diabetes, which doctors said could have been treated had they been given the chance. The Neumanns said they were exercising their religious freedoms with their prayer healing.

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A 16-year-old Madison girl now says she's trying to get back the life she lost when her parents starved and abused her in the basement of her home. The girl's father, Chad Chritton, was sentenced yesterday to five years in prison plus five years of extended supervision. Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese said she wanted his sentence to be similar to that of his wife -- the girl's step-mother Melinda -- who was convicted last year. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne read a letter from the girl, whose weight dropped to 68 pounds just before she escaped from her basement captivity in February of 2012. The youngster said she had six years of no education, and she wanted to own a life she couldn't have until she ran away. She said her parents turned her into quote, "their own personal slave." Chritton had two trials last year, after jurors couldn't agree on several counts in the first one. He ended up being convicted of felony child neglect, reckless endangerment, physical child abuse, and causing mental harm to a child.

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A northern Wisconsin woman will spend almost three years in prison for supplying the heroin that killed a friend. 27-year-old Jennifer Heiting of Saint Germain was given a four-year term yesterday, shortened by the 415 days she spent in jail while her case was going through the system. 29-year-old David Stahl died in December of 2012 near Rhinelander, after overdosing on heroin allegedly traced back to Heiting and co-defendant Richard Lewis of Saint Germain. She admitted shipping in heroin for herself and friends. Defense lawyer Alex Nocco said Heiting felt her arrest saved her life. She apologized to Stahl's family, saying her addiction caused many problems but she's now seeing a new life. Heiting will spend six years under extended supervision once she leaves prison. Lewis is scheduled to be sentenced on February 19th.

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A Social Security agent said he was threatened by a central Wisconsin man who's accused of cashing his missing mother-in-law's benefit checks. A trial began yesterday in Portage County for 72-year-old Ronald Disher of Almond. He allegedly took 175-thousand dollars in Social Security benefits for Marie Jost long after she went missing three decades ago. Social Security Special Agent Nathan Catura testified yesterday that Disher threatened him when he tried speaking to the defendant's wife Delores. The defense said the agent was trespassing, and Disher had a right to protect himself and his property. Two jail inmates also testified for the prosecution. They said Disher talked about the crime while behind bars, and he claimed that Marie Jost was poisoned. Her body was never found. Disher could testify today. The trial is expected to wrap up tomorrow. He was one of three people charged in the theft. Charges against Delores Jost were dropped after she suffered a stroke and was found unfit to stand trial. Her brother Charles was found innocent-by-insanity in the case.

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A Milwaukee police officer shot-and-killed an armed robbery suspect late yesterday. It started around 5:30, when two beer delivery men were robbed at gunpoint. Police Chief Ed Flynn said an officer saw the suspect a short time later, and caught up to him behind a house after a chase on foot. Flynn said the two men got into a struggle -- the robbery suspect pulled a loaded semi-automatic handgun on the officer -- and the patrolman whipped out his service weapon and shot the suspect, who died at the scene. The chief said the robber's gun was reported to be stolen from another state. Officers recovered the weapon, along with a face mask and an undisclosed amount of money taken in the robbery. Flynn said the 30-year-old officer was a nine-year veteran of the Milwaukee police force. He'll be put on administrative duty while the shooting is being investigated.

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These days, you never know when somebody will catch you on camera -- even in the most isolated of places. A 33-year-old Thorp man was the latest to learn that lesson, after video from a trail camera showed him with items stolen in a January 8th burglary. Earlier this week, Taylor County sheriff's deputies released photos of the suspect from the hidden camera -- which is normally used to capture wildlife images. News outlets and social media posted the man's pictures, and it didn't take long for several people to identify him. He turned himself in the same evening. Online court records did not list charges in the case as of this morning.

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