Crime and Court Roundup: Appleton woman charged with first degree intentional homicideWisconsin News
-- An Appleton woman is being held on a half-million-dollar bond, after she was charged yesterday with killing her husband.
An Appleton woman is being held on a half-million-dollar bond, after she was charged yesterday with killing her husband. 34-year-old Mastella Jackson appeared in Outagamie County Circuit Court on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide. Prosecutors said she stabbed 41-year-old Derrick Whitlow to death on Tuesday, at a room he rented at the Road Star Inn just west of Appleton in the town of Grand Chute. Police said they recovered the apparent murder weapon and bloody clothes from a garbage can at Jackson’s duplex. Jackson is due back in court next Thursday.
A Milwaukee man has been charged with killing a teenager at a house party in Cudahy last weekend. 19-year-old Edwin Almestica faces felony counts of reckless homicide and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. He allegedly shot 19-year-old David Opalinski early last Saturday. According to prosecutors, the two men got into an argument after Almestica had a conflict with some girls at the party. Officials said Almestica pointed a gun after Opalinski approached him – and the two were engaged in a struggle when Opalinski was shot in the chest. Court records show that Almestica was convicted of felony marijuana possession last year, and for misdemeanor battery in 2010.
The only survivor of a car crash that killed four people in Dane County was moved yesterday from a hospital room to a jail cell. 18-year-old Victor Benitez of Madison is being held for violating a probation he received in a disorderly conduct case last year. In the meantime, authorities say they’re seeking four counts of homicide by drunk driving against Benitez. Authorities said he was driving a car that sped through a stop sign, hit a railroad track, went airborne, hit a utility pole, and then overturned. All four of his passengers were killed in the crash, which happened last Saturday in Fitchburg. Killed were 17-year-old Martin Sanchez-Gutierrez and 18-year-old Jose Cabrera-Hernandez, both of Madison – and 25-year-old Alan Dickson and 17-year-old Phankham Chitanavong, both of Rockford Illinois.
Over 300 Wisconsin religious leaders say they want the state’s prison population to be cut by 11-thousand people over the next four years. A coalition of social justice groups have started what they call the “11-by-15 Campaign.” It seeks to give non-violent offenders alternatives to prison by 2015 – including more drug-and-alcohol treatment programs. They call it a more economical and humane approach than blanket incarcerations. Senate Public Safety Committee Chairman Van Wanggaard of Racine said he would be willing to hear what the religious leaders have to say – but as always, the details will determine if the plan goes anywhere. Wisconsin currently sends about 23-thousand people to prison each year, and another 67-thousand are on probation and parole. Most counties have some type of diversion program, and officials have been looking to expand some of them. The state has spent about a million dollars a year since 2006 on seven pilot projects throughout Wisconsin – and officials said they save almost two-dollars for every dollar spent on the prisons.