CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Oconto County man to spend rest of his life in prison after killing teenager 16 years ago
A 53-year-old man will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing a teenager in northeast Wisconsin 16 years ago. An Oconto County judge said no yesterday to giving Peter Hanson of Oconto Falls a chance for a supervised release. He and another man were charged in the shooting death of 19-year-old Chad McLean of Green Bay in early 1998 after a night of drinking. The charges were not filed until last spring, when witnesses finally brought enough evidence forward. A jury convicted Hanson last December. The other defendant, 55-year-old Charles Mlados of Oconto Falls, is scheduled to have a two-week trial starting August fourth on murder and perjury charges. Prosecutors said the two defendants argued with McLean before killing him. His body was later found in the Pensaukee River near Abrams. Authorities said Hanson gave himself away by telling investigators details that were never released to the public -- like the fact that McLean died from gunshot wounds to the head.
Under a new Wisconsin bill, suspects could no longer escape murder convictions by claiming they were too drunk to know what they were doing. Assembly Republican Steve Nass of Whitewater wants to remove "voluntary intoxication" as an allowable defense in homicide cases. The bill got a public hearing yesterday before the Assembly's judiciary committee. It's in response to the case of Brian Cooper of Illinois, who allegedly raped-and-strangled a pregnant Alisha Bromfield at a Door County resort after she rejected his request for a deeper love relationship. At his trial in 2012, jurors from Wood County could not agree to convict Cooper for murder, after he claimed he was too drunk to have intended to murder Bromfield and her unborn child. At the hearing on the new bill, Cooper's own sister Kellie Stryker called the hung-jury "the ultimate injustice." She urged lawmakers to stop letting people use alcohol as an excuse. Bromfield's mother said the defense kept Cooper from being found guilty. The 37-year-old Cooper was convicted of sexual assault, but there was a hung-jury on two first-degree intentional homicide counts. A re-trial on those is scheduled to start May second. Nass' bill would affect future cases, but not Cooper's.
A man sentenced to five years in prison for injuring his young son in 2007 was given 10 more years behind bars yesterday because the child later died. 31-year-old Kenneth Larson, formerly of Balsam Lake, was convicted in Polk County in '08 for the child abuse that severely injured Xavier. He was one month old at the time. The boy died in 2011, and Polk County prosecutors charged Larson again -- this time with first-degree reckless homicide. He pleaded no contest to that charge in January. Officials said it was not a case of double-jeopardy, because the death was considered a separate crime. Besides the added prison time, Larson must spend 10 additional years under extended supervision when he leaves prison. That was on top of the five years of supervision that was ordered before. Larson first told authorities that his son rolled off a bed -- but a doctor later testified that the infant was severely disabled. Xavier died from complications of a brain injury.
A maker of pre-cast concrete products in central Wisconsin has been cited by federal officials, after a truck driver lost a foot in a workplace accident. County Materials of Marathon was cited by the Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration for 18 serious violations. Fines of almost 57-thousand dollars were proposed. Officials said a cable broke on a boom-crane at a job site in Elderon, and the driver was pinned against a concrete riser. One of his feet was severed, and a leg got crushed. County Materials has about 12-hundred-50 employees at numerous locations throughout Wisconsin. OSHA said the firm had eight previous citations for unsafe working conditions dating back to 2001. The firm has not commented on the newest case. It has 15 days to either pay the fines, challenge the citations, or meet with OSHA to bargain down the penalty.
Dane County sheriff's deputies combed a rural highway yesterday, to look for evidence in the murder of a woman from Mazomanie. Media reports said investigators searched part of Highway 14 near Black Earth -- and they'll go back there today. A 39-year-old Janesville man is being held as a person-of-interest in the shooting death of 43-year-old Cheryl Gilberg. A relative found her body last Sunday at her home. The Janesville man is being held in the Rock County Jail on unrelated charges.