Crime and Court Roundup: Two La Crosse men charged with homicide and attempted homicide
Two La Crosse men are being held under one-million-dollar bonds, after being charged with what police called a senseless drive-by shooting with no motive - and a random murder 15 minutes later. Prosecutors said 21-year-old Pao Vue shot four times at the home of an 83-year-old La Crosse woman during her birthday celebration on the afternoon of March 30th. And then, police said Vue's 19-year-old nephew Kong randomly entered Sara Hougom's unlocked apartment, went after her purse, and shot the 20-year-old Hougom twice when he saw her move on her couch. Both defendants are charged with homicide and attempted homicide, and they made their first court appearances yesterday. Kong Vue will return to court Friday after he gets an attorney. Pao Vue is due back in court next Wednesday, when a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to order a trial. In the drive-by shooting, the bullets entered the woman's home, but none of the three people inside were hurt. Prosecutors said Kong Vue was not intoxicated at the time of the ensuing murder - and his only motive was that he needed money from someone. Officers found matching shell casings at both crime scenes. And surveillance video from nearby businesses showed that Kong Vue's car was at both places around the times of the incidents.
State Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack withdrew yesterday from the ethics case against her fellow Justice David Prosser. Prosser has asked four of his six colleagues to recuse themselves when the court is asked to make a final decision on charges filed against Prosser in March by the state Judicial Commission. Roggensack became the first. And if two others follow suit, there would not be enough justices left to consider punishing Prosser for his alleged choke-hold on fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley last June, and a derogatory remark he admitted making to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson in 2010. Roggensack said she had no choice but to withdraw, saying she was a material witness to the Bradley altercation. And Roggensack - who, like Prosser, is part of the court's four-member conservative majority - said it's against the law for judges to take part in cases in which they were witnesses. The special prosecutor in the case, Franklyn Gimbel, said he fears that Roggensack's withdrawal might trigger an end to the case. Gimbel told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Prosser would win by quote, "procedural impotency." Gimbel recently said the justices could still decide Prosser's fate under a "rule of necessity," in which recusals are waived if no one else can decide a case. But Roggensack says the rule cannot be invoked for judges who were material witnesses.
A judge in Madison has sentenced a 22-year-old man to four years in prison, for providing the heroin that killed a woman last year. Dane County Circuit Judge Sarah O'Brien said yesterday that prison might give Jimmy Gibson his best chance to survive his own heroin addiction. He pleaded no contest to reckless homicide, after he provided the drug that killed 25-year-old Nicole Daum from an overdose. Two other charges of manufacturing and delivering heroin were dropped in a plea bargain.
A Milwaukee attorney says a recent legal settlement has triggered a big increase in new mortgage foreclosure cases. There was a 23-percent increase in foreclosure filings last month in seven southeast Wisconsin counties, compared to the same time a year ago. David Liebowitz said lenders put many foreclosure cases on hold, until they reached a 25-million-dollar settlement with Wisconsin and other states over deceptive practices for home loans. Liebowitz said the settlement cleared the way for banks to resume foreclosing on those defaulting on their monthly mortgage payments. One-thousand-64 new cases were filed in April in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Walworth, Racine, and Kenosha counties. That's up from 863 cases the previous April. The increase comes at a time when home sales are rising.
An Ashland man will spend six-and-a-half years in prison for killing another man by pushing him off a cliff into Lake Superior. 23-year-old Cass Corbine must also spend five years under extended supervision when he's no longer behind bars. 18-year-old Marvin Charette-the-Third of Washburn fell about 60-feet to his death after an underage drinking party on the Red Cliff Indian Reservation north of Bayfield in July of 2010. He reportedly ran toward the cliff to get away from police officers who were closing in on the party - and he got into a confrontation with Corbine. Corbine eventually admitted that he pushed Charette to get him out of his face - and the victim fell backward from the cliff. Charette was missing for two days when a kayaker found his body in a sea cave along Lake Superior. Ten months of investigations found that he was pushed. Corbine pleaded no contest to felony murder. A reckless homicide charge was dropped in a plea bargain.