State Crime and Court Roundup: Fox Valley man guilty of arson at Planned Parenthood clinicWisconsin News
-- A federal court jury in Green Bay needed only 30 minutes to deliberate, before finding a Fox Valley man guilty of starting a fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
GREEN BAY - A federal court jury in Green Bay needed only 30 minutes to deliberate, before finding a Fox Valley man guilty of starting a fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic.
Fifty-year-old Francis Grady of Kaukauna was convicted of arson and criminal property damage after a one-day trial yesterday. He faces up to 21 years in prison when he’s sentenced in October. The small fire damaged an exam room on April first at Planned Parenthood’s clinic west of Appleton in the town of Grand Chute. No one was injured. It happened on a Sunday night when the facility was closed. It needed one extra day to re-open. In his testimony yesterday, Grady admitted that he used a hammer to break a window, poured gasoline, and used a lighter to start the fire. He said he did it to quote, “release the souls of the children” who’ve been killed in abortions. And when he lit the fire, Grady said he quote, “saw souls coming out of the windows.” Grady said he “thought about those poor children for years,” and he made a spur-of-the-moment decision to start the fire while visiting a friend’s house earlier that day. A Planned Parenthood representative also testified, along with an FBI agent and local authorities. Grady was arrested about two hours after the fire, when he got into a traffic crash in Kaukauna. Police said at the time that he was drunk – but Grady denied being drunk when he set the fire. He said he only had one vodka drink that day. Grady wanted to plead guilty during his first court appearance in early April, but a magistrate wouldn’t let him.
A 30-year-old man is under arrest for a domestic altercation in which a child died and three adults were injured. It happened early yesterday afternoon in Fitchburg, south of Madison. Police went to the parking lot of an apartment complex after getting a disconnected 911 call. And while they were on the way, more callers had said a child was injured. One neighbor told WISC-TV she heard arguing, saw an SUV speed into a driveway, and heard a loud noise. She said a toddler was under the SUV while bystanders held down the driver until police could arrive. Officials said one of the injured adults was the suspect, and he refused medical attention before being arrested. The other two went to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities said the SUV had its air bags deployed when they arrived, and the youngster was dead. The victim’s name was not immediately released. The suspect is in the Dane County Jail, and was booked for homicide and attempted homicide. Charges are pending. Last night, dozens of neighbors held a vigil at the parking lot to mourn the child’s death and support the youngster’s family. Fitchburg Mayor Shawn Pfaff was also there. He said he was glad to see community members come together.
Charges are still being considered in a high-speed chase that resulted in a crash near Green Bay which critically injured an innocent motorist. Authorities said the weekend chase started in Oconto County on Highway 41, as officers were pursuing a 25-year-old Green Bay man in a stolen vehicle. The chase went south into Brown County, and it ended when the suspect left the vehicle was driving. He was arrested on Sunday, and he’s being held in jail for violating a previous probation. But as the chase continued west of Green Bay, a Brown County officer lost control of his squad car, veered into the opposite lanes, and collided with a car driven by 27-year-old Michelle Lecker of Milwaukee. She remained in critical condition yesterday at a Green Bay hospital. The deputy and a passenger in her car suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
A former school bus driver in suburban Milwaukee has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for molesting three young boys on his bus. 58-year-old Randy Mayer, who drove students in Port Washington, must also spend 10 years under extended supervision when he leaves prison. He maintained his innocence during yesterday’s sentencing hearing. But Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams told Mayer he’d continue to be a danger to the community until he accepts the facts of what he did. His attorney says he has not talked to his client about appealing the conviction. Parents of two of the sexual assault victims said their families would never be the same again. One of the boys’ fathers said the child has nightmares – and he’s hesitates to even play soccer because of what happened.
A man who used to own a Wausau mortgage company faces 25 criminal charges, for allegedly embezzling over a million-dollars from his former clients. 52-year-old Jay Fischer was charged yesterday in Marathon County Circuit Court with 21 felonies and four misdemeanors that include fraud, racketeering, embezzlement, and tax law violations. Fischer owned Valley Title in Wausau, which helped close transactions for home purchases and re-financing arrangements. Prosecutors said he was supposed to pay off mortgages for eight clients but never did so, and kept a million-dollars from the transactions for himself. The cases involved 10 transactions from 2009-and-2010. Officials said two of the mortgages were satisfied after the affected homeowners found dual-mortgages on those properties.