CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Former police officer expected to enter pleas this afternoon on homicide charges
Former police officer Steven Zelich is scheduled to enter pleas this afternoon to charges that killed one of two women, before hiding their bodies in suitcases. A 1:15 arraignment is set in Kenosha County Circuit Court, on charges of first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. Zelich, a former West Allis officer, waived a preliminary hearing on Friday for the 2012 death of 19-year-old Jenny Gamez of Cottage Grove Oregon. Authorities said the 52-year-old Zelich killed both Gamez and Laura Simonson of Minnesota after erotic choking games. The suitcases containing their bodies were found in June along a road near Lake Geneva. That's in Walworth County, where Zelich has a September 23rd status hearing scheduled on two counts of hiding corpses. Charges involving Simonson's death are pending in Minnesota.
A judge is expected to decide today whether to delay or drop the case of an Appleton area woman accused of shooting her domestic partner to death. Fifty-five Dianna Siveny is scheduled to go on trial a week from today, and the prosecution is missing some key evidence in the case. Siveny is charged with homicide and substantial battery in the death of Lara Plamann, whose body was found in October of 2007 in the shed of a home the two had shared. Authorities said Siveny's daughter Kandi did the actual shooting, which reportedly occurred because Plamann had cheated on Kandi's mother. A third person, Rosie Campbell of Saint Paul, is also charged in the case -- and she's refusing to testify against Dianna Siveny even if her remarks get immunity from her prosecution. Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider says Campbell's testimony is a "necessity" in the state's case. Campbell reportedly made a confession which resulted in the arrests. D-A Schneider has asked that next week's trial be delayed -- and if the judge refuses, she'll seek to dismiss the charges without prejudice so she can re-file the case in the future.
Over 100 people marched from a Milwaukee church to a north side school where kids have been hesitant to use a playground after a girl died from a stray bullet. Teachers, police officers, and faith leaders were among those helping kids re-claim the playground yesterday at the Clarke Street Elementary School. That was where ten-year-old Sierra Guyton was shot in crossfire as two teens were shooting at each other the evening of May 21st. Sierra died in mid-July after two months on life support. One of the alleged shooters just recently had his charges upgraded to homicide. The crowd at yesterday's event chanted "Let the children play, each and every day." The event started at Milwaukee's Tabernacle Community Baptist Church where Sienna's funeral was held. The crowed then marched to the school about three blocks away
A Wisconsin man was hospitalized in critical condition, after he was shot by an acquaintance in Vermont. Media reports did not list 39-year-old Edward Carter's hometown in Wisconsin. Police in Guilford Vermont said Carter was visiting 26-year-old Nicholas Baker's house when they got into disagreements and a physical confrontation early Saturday morning. Investigators said Carter was hit by a single gunshot, and was taken to Brattleboro hospital in Vermont. During the investigation, police said they executed a search warrant and found marijuana being cultivated. Officials said a drug charge would be filed against Baker when he's arraigned. Baker is being held at a regional prison on charges of aggravated assault and obstructing justice. Bond has been set at 25-thousand dollars.
Authorities continue to investigate a weekend crash in Shawano County, where a motorcyclist died after hitting a deer. It happened late Friday night on a town road near Tigerton. Sheriff's deputies said the 23-year-old biker died a short time after vehicle struck the deer. The name of the Tigerton man was not immediately released.
Traffic was delayed for three hours yesterday, after human waste spilled on southbound Interstate-94 in Racine County. State transportation officials said a "liquid non-hazardous substance" spilled for about 30-feet across all three lanes of the freeway. Officials did not say where the spill came from. The State Patrol in Waukesha said it could not be cleaned up right away, because so many vehicles drove through it. The material began to harden, so officials decided to leave it in the roadway and clean it up during the night.
About 125 people gathered at a downtown Milwaukee park yesterday to call for justice in the aftermath of the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri. The group yelled "No justice, no peace" and "Hands up, don't shoot" -- what's become a common phrase in Ferguson after witnesses said Brown had his hands up when an officer shot him. Among those speaking at the Milwaukee rally was Craig Stingley, father of a black West Allis teen who died after being held down by three white convenience store customers. Also at the rally were relatives of Dontre Hamilton, who was shot more than 10 times by an officer in late April after getting info a confrontation with the patrolman at Red Arrow Park -- where yesterday's rally took place. The crowd also marched to Milwaukee's downtown police station.