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Kuehni sentenced to probation, jail time in fatal shooting case

CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Former La Crosse Police Lieutenant gets three months jail for stealing drugs

Former La Crosse Police Lieutenant Brian Thomson will spend three months in jail for stealing and taking drugs that officers seized as evidence. Visiting Judge Todd Ziegler also sentenced the 44-year-old Thomson yesterday to three months under electronic monitoring, as part of a three-year probation term. Ziegler said Thomson put a "black eye" on the La Crosse police force and betrayed the public's trust. He admitted stealing and using meth-amphetamines three times. An audit later showed that 63 packages of drug evidence were tampered with -- including meth, cocaine, heroin, and prescription medicines. Officials said the tampered evidence resulted in two drug cases being dropped against other defendants -- and other such cases are still pending. Police began investigating Thomson last June, when his captain discovered that he made unauthorized visits to the evidence storage area. In August, he was given a bag of fake evidence to process -- and he was arrested after stealing the drugs from that package. Thomson ended up pleading guilty to his original charge of attempted illegal narcotics possession. A plea deal kept him out of a state prison.


A trial is being delayed for a teenager accused of organizing the failed robbery of an elderly woman and her former neighborhood grocery store in Marshfield. 18-year-old Cordell Ellingson of Arpin was supposed to go on trial today on a Wood County charge of contributing to the delinquency of a 13-year-old robbery suspect. However, his attorney wanted more time to review evidence -- and a status hearing in the case is now set for March 25th. Ellingson was 17 last summer, when he allegedly drew up a plan to rob Wolf's Grocery store and encouraged a 13-year-old boy to pull it off. Investigators said the 13-year-old wore a mask as he demanded money -- but store owner Marge Wolf offered him Tootsie Rolls instead. The case made national news. The boy is still facing juvenile action. Wolf was 96 when the incident occurred. She has since sold the store and retired.


A convicted murderer has pleaded guilty to escaping from a state prison's work detail last fall. 54-year-old Todd Brecht entered his plea yesterday in Oneida County. He'll be sentenced April 29th. Authorities said Brecht walked away October first from a work crew on Highway 70 in Vilas County -- and he made it to Florida before being arrested three days later on a bus in Orlando. Brecht was at the minimum-security Camp McNaughton prison. He was serving a life sentence for the 1985 shooting death of his brother-in-law, Buffalo County District Attorney Roger Hartman. Brecht lived in Owen at the time. He was convicted of first-degree murder, although he claimed to a number of state-and-federal courts that it was an accident. The United States Supreme Court was the last one not to buy that claim, upholding Brecht's conviction in 1993 on a 5-to-4 vote. 


A Madison man will be sentenced this morning for molesting his teenage step-sister, while she was being tortured for years by her father and step-mother. 20-year-old Joshua Drabek will appear before Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese. She previously sentenced the girl's parents to five years behind bars, plus extended supervision. Drabek faces a maximum of 146 years in prison on the charges for which a jury convicted him last week -- first-and-second-degree child sex assault, and child abuse. He pleaded guilty last summer in a previous child molesting case. His step-sister is now 17. She was confined for several years to the basement of her father's Madison home. She escaped two years ago, and weighed just 68 pounds at the time. 


The deaths of a man and a woman in Green Bay have been ruled a murder-suicide. 52-year-old Jeffrey Fish and 47-year-old Linda Dickenson were found shot-to-death in their apartment on Monday. Police said Fish shot Dickenson and then turned the gun on himself. Media reports said police had been called to the couple's house several times in the past seven years -- often for alcohol-related domestic incidents. Officials said the two were drinking at a wedding last Friday night -- and Fish never showed up for a family fishing trip on Saturday. Police checked on the two after Dickenson failed to show up for her job on Monday morning.


Three Milwaukee County jail officers were injured in an attack by a combative inmate. Sheriff's officials said a 43-year-old homicide suspect refused to return to his cell yesterday, and he tried hitting an officer. The guard then attempted to use a stun-gun, but it failed. Authorities said the prisoner tried tried choking another officer -- and then a third guard used his Taser weapon. Other officers helped to get the suspect handcuffed. He was taken to a hospital after striking his head on a wall, and was returned to the jail after treatment. One guard is off work with a torn tendon. Another suffered facial injuries, and a third hurt his fore-arm.