STATE NEWS ROUNDUP: Shawano man pleads guilty to two homicide counts
A jury has convicted a Shawano man for killing two people, including a woman who threatened to expose details of an affair they had. Jurors deliberated for five hours late yesterday in Oconto County, before finding 30-year-old Daniel Schmidt guilty of two homicide counts. He shot-and-killed 32-year-old Kimberly Rose of Gillett and her 22-year-old brother Leonard Marsh in May of 2009. Authorities said Schmidt was upset when Rose interfered as he tried patching things up with his wife -- and she threatened to expose details of their affair which she kept in a journal. Also, investigators said Rose loaned Schmidt a-thousand dollars to buy a motorcycle, and he never paid her back. She expected marijuana from a growing operation she later threatened to expose. Schmidt's attorney said authorities never recovered a weapon -- and the defendant's D-N-A and fingerprints were not found at the murder scene or on Schmidt's clothes the day of the incident. A sentencing date could be set this morning. Schmidt faces two mandatory life prison terms, but the judge has the option of setting a minimum eligibility date for a supervised release.
A Marshfield man who was given a new trial in the death of his lover will settle the case with a plea deal. 32-year-old Eric Mayer was supposed to go on trial next week in Marathon County for felony murder. Instead, a plea and sentencing hearing is now set for Monday. Terms of the plea bargain will not be released until then. Mayer originally pleaded guilty to felony murder in the death of 43-year-old Cynthia Tyler of rural Stratford. An appeals court allowed Mayer to withdraw the plea, after he said his attorney did not tell him about the facts that had to be proven for his conviction. That got him out of a 10-year prison term. The killing took place in March of 2009, while Mayer was living at Tyler's home. Officials said the two argued while driving home from a fish fry. After they got home, Mayer claimed she kicked him in the mouth -- and he then hit her in the face. He told investigators he called 9-1-1 because she didn't wake up after that. Mayer then moved to Marshfield to live with relatives. While his criminal case was pending, Mayer had filed for divorce from another woman.
The Minnesota man convicted of killing Wausau area native Kira Steger now claims he didn't cause enough of her injuries to kill her. A defense lawyer has asked a judge to throw out Jeffrey Trevino's guilty verdict for unintentional second-degree murder. John Conard said there was insufficient legal basis for the jury's verdict on October second. Jurors said they could tie the 39-year-old Trevino to the killing of his 30-year-old wife Steger in February, but they could not find proof that Trevino planned the murder. Conard said there was no proof that Steger died from a serious cut above her left eye-brow. She also suffered a broken finger, but Conard said the injury only rises to the level of third-degree assault -- not murder. The defense lawyer mentioned nothing about testimony during the trial that Trevino likely smothered Steger. Trevino is scheduled to be sentenced on November 25th.
A man killed in a Madison apartment fire has been identified as 51-year-old Christopher Williams. An autopsy showed that he died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries. Fire-fighters were called to a south side Madison apartment complex Wednesday afternoon, where Williams was found dead in his second floor apartment amid flames and heavy smoke. It only took about 20 minutes to put out the fire, but units were called back a couple hours later after the flames rekindled. Officials said the victim was carried into a hallway, but could not be resuscitated. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. It destroyed Williams' apartment, and heavily damaged units next to it, and underneath it.
About 80 Wisconsin National Guard troops will be welcomed home this afternoon, after they spent 10 months in Afghanistan. Governor Scott Walker will be among the dignitaries on hand for a ceremony on the E-A-A grounds in Oshkosh. The troops are members of the Guard's 121st Field Artillery unit based in Plymouth. They conducted support missions in which they fired rockets from specialized truck-mounts. The unit returned to American soil last week. They were debriefed at Fort Bliss in Texas.