CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: 'Slender Man' suspects back in court today
Two 12-year-old Waukesha girls are due back in adult court this morning, on charges that they stabbed a classmate to pay homage to a fictional horror character. A judge is expected to review the results of an exam to determine if Morgan Geyser is mentally able to help with her defense. Also, the judge will be asked to make prosecutors turn over evidence to the public defender for the other girl, Anissa Weyer. Both are charged with attempted homicide, after they allegedly stabbed a 12-year-old girl 19 times on May 30th to curry favor with the online character Slender Man. The victim has been recovering at home.
One of the central figures in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal of the last decade will apparently be staying in Milwaukee. Retired archbishop Rembert Weakland was planning to move back to a Benedictine monastery in Latrobe Pennsylvania where he started his religious life. However, he now tells the Milwaukee Catholic Herald that the arch-abbot at the monastery has asked him to postpone his move indefinitely. The 87-year-old Weakland was Milwaukee's archbishop for 25 years, until it became known that he used almost a half-million dollars in church funds as hush money to keep a former male lover quiet. Weakland retired in 2002 after that got out. The Journal Sentinel said Weakland was going to be honored by priests at a farewell luncheon on July 17th, but the event drew criticism from victims of priest sex abuse. Former archdiocese vice chancellor James Connell sent an open letter to Weakland asking him to cancel the lunch and take steps to address survivors' concerns. Weakland said he wanted to get back to the monastic routine by moving back to Pennsylvania, but it won't appear to work out.
A search continues for a man suspected of stealing at least a half-dozen vehicles in central and western Wisconsin since he left prison on June 10th. On Monday night, authorities said 38-year-old Eric Hall was hiding out at a friend's house near Vesper in central Wisconsin. Wood County sheriff's deputies were called, and they said a male resident claimed Hall wasn't there. That was when Hall was said to have stolen the man's pick-up truck. That man was arrested for obstructing an officer. Yesterday, Jackson County authorities said Hall took another vehicle in Merrillan. Officials were not sure where he went after that. Hall is now facing a warrant for violating probation. Last month, authorities said he may have stolen up to four vehicles in western Wisconsin, just days after leaving prison. One vehicle had a shotgun and a rifle, plus hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Another belonged to a volunteer fire-fighter with an emergency light and siren inside. Authorities consider Hall armed and dangerous. They warn people not to approach Hall if they see him -- and instead to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Heroin abuse in Wisconsin has escalated for the last six years, and it shows no signs of abating. That's according to a statewide assessment of the problem, conducted over the past year by the F-B-I and other agencies. The report says drug dealers have found heroin to be a cheaper alternative to prescription drugs. Most heroin enters the U-S from Mexico and South America -- and it reaches Wisconsin through Minneapolis, Chicago, and Rockford Illinois. Users are generally white men, age 21-to-25 who start out abusing opiates like Percocet and Vicodin. The report says one hit can cost around 15-dollars in Milwaukee, but twice that much in Green Bay due to supply and demand. Local police officials have mentioned that before. The F-B-I's John Kumm says Wisconsin is the only state that has done a statement assessment -- but he cautions that it's not complete. That's because data is not available in all parts of the state. For example, the report found 187 heroin overdose deaths in Wisconsin in 2012 -- but some death certificates only list "drug abuse" as a cause of death, and those are not counted in these figures. Still, the ones that we do know of are about three times the 67 heroin deaths reported in 2008.
The state Justice Department has completed its review of an arrest in April by a Green Bay police officer which drew complaints about excessive force. The police department said it received the state's report yesterday -- but it's too early to disclose the findings, and officials are not sure when they'll be made public. A video on You-Tube showed Green Bay officer Derek Wicklund pushing a man against a car, throwing him to the ground, and punching him. The Green Bay Press-Gazette said the state considered whether the officer's behavior was consistent with basic officer training. A Justice Department spokeswoman would not say what the conclusion was.