Crime and Court Roundup: Jurors from different county to be used in Wand trialWisconsin News
-- Marathon County residents might decide the fate of an Argyle man who allegedly killed four of his children by setting his family’s house on fire.
Marathon County residents might decide the fate of an Argyle man who allegedly killed four of his children by setting his family’s house on fire. Armin Wand-the-Third is scheduled to go on trial February 22nd, unless he strikes a plea deal before then. Visiting Judge Thomas Vale agreed with defense lawyers that the nature of the publicity in the case makes it impossible for Wand to get a fair jury in his home county of Lafayette. So if the trial proceeds, jurors would be picked in Wausau. And then they would be bused to Darlington, where testimony is scheduled to begin February 23rd at the Lafayette County Courthouse. The 33-year-old Wand is charged with numerous counts of arson, attempted arson, and homicide. Police said he and his younger brother Jeremy set fire to Armin’s home last September, so Armin could collect the insurance money and start a new life. Three of Armin’s children were killed, along with an unborn child carried by his wife – who was severely burned in the blaze. Their two-year-old daughter made it out okay. Jeremy Wand’s trial has not been set yet.
The Grant County sheriff’s office in southwest Wisconsin is giving away 500 free firearm safety kits. It’s part of a gun safety education program called “Project Child-Safe.” Sheriff Nate Dreckman says the safety kits include gun locks, and they’re being handed out at the department’s headquarters in Lancaster. Sheriff Nate Dreckman says the idea is to prevent children and unauthorized people from reaching for guns. The National Shooting Sports Foundation created the program a decade ago. It has distributed over 35-million firearm safety kits throughout the U-S.
A Wausau area man will spend three-and-a-half years in prison, after checking into the V-A Home in Tomah with a collection of child pornography. Greg Crisman of Rothschild, who turns 49 next week, pleaded no contest in Monroe County to 10 felony charges of possessing child porn – and 40 other counts were dropped in a plea bargain. Crisman told Fort McCoy investigators that he had to view the material, since he was molested years ago and he was living what he called a fantasy trip. He had over 50 images of naked youngsters when he was caught last May. Crisman did tell arresting officers it was a good thing they found him. He said he was suicidal, and he was glad there were not any actual victims from his actions.
New charges were filed yesterday against five men in the beating of a Milwaukee rap music artist who was reportedly killed in a gruesome gang murder. Billy Griffin, Victor Stewart, and Ashanti McAlister had previous battery charges upgraded to first-degree intentional homicide. Devin Seaberry and Ron Allen were charged for the first time in the case, both with homicide. The defendants range in age from 19-to-37. They’re accused of killing 22-year-old Ebony Young, who’s been missing since New Year’s Day. Her body has not been found, and police said they were searching at a landfill yesterday. One defendant told authorities he thought Young was male – but officials said the victim changed genders to female. According to prosecutors, Young’s roommate – Billy Griffin – first told officers that she got into a car with somebody on January first and disappeared. But Griffin later told investigators that gang members Stewart and McAlister came to his house along with others. They told Griffin he’d be allowed back into their gang if he killed Young. But instead, officials said they choked Young with a chain, taped a plastic bag over her head, beat her, and shot her. Young’s body was then thrown into a trash bin.
A Milwaukee child care worker is due back in court February fifth on two felony charges of possessing child pornography. According to prosecutors, a youngster picked up Louie Flowers’ phone at a north side Milwaukee day care center last June, and saw a photo of a nude young girl. The child the phone to teachers who saw numerous other pornographic items while Flowers was away on a field trip to Chicago with a group of youngsters. He was arrested later that day. And police said they later found numerous images of child porn on Flowers’ computer at his home in Brown Deer, showing girls as young as six being molested. The 39-year-old Flowers worked for six years at Milwaukee’s Silver Spring Neighborhood Center until his arrest. The Journal Sentinel wrote a story about the case last month, a few weeks before charges were filed. Prosecutor Paul Tiffin would not say why it took six months to take the case to court – but he said a variety of things can hold up matters, including forensic analysis. In the meantime, the paper said Flowers was looking for work in December, and another child care employer might not have known about his arrest six months’ earlier. Flowers is free on a 10-thousand-dollar cash bond. At his next court appearance, a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order a trial.