State Crime and Courts Roundup: Man sentenced to prison for setting fire at Planned ParenthoodWisconsin News
-- A Fox Valley man was sentenced to 11 years in prison yesterday, for starting a small fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic near Appleton.
APPLETON - A Fox Valley man was sentenced to 11 years in prison yesterday, for starting a small fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic near Appleton.
50-year-old Francis Grady of Kaukauna was found guilty in October by a federal jury of arson and criminal property damage. His lawyer, Tom Phillip, asked for the minimum sentence of five years. He said Grady only took 47-cents worth of gasoline to the abortion-and-reproductive health clinic last April – and therefore, the crime should be considered more of a vandalism than an arson case. But Karen Kuhn of Planned Parenthood said the fire was an act of terrorism. Grady said he didn’t intend it that way – and he claimed he was incompetent, because he was quote, “involuntarily intoxicated.” He claimed to have heard voices which told him to set the fire. At his trial, he said he quote, “saw souls coming out” of the clinic – an apparent reference to the babies that were aborted. Judge William Griesbach said Grady has bi-polar and personality disorders, and is a drug-and-alcohol abuser. Grady faced up to 21 years behind bars, but the judge agreed it shouldn’t be that long. But Griesbach said Grady needed to be in prison to be sure that he stays on his medications. And if he wants to raise mental competency issues, the judge said he should do it during the appeal process.
It could be a long time – if ever – before State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser faces possible action in a disciplinary case against him. Special prosecutor Franklyn Gimbel says he’s been told by the state Judicial Commission not to pursue alternative courses of action against Prosser. Gimbel told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quote, “The case is kind of stuck in quicksand right now.” He said he was considering other options to get the case moving, but he would not say what they were. The Judicial Commission filed a complaint almost a year ago, claiming Prosser broke ethics rules with his alleged choke-hold on fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in 2011. The Supreme Court would have made the final decision on a punishment – but Prosser got off the hook after a majority of his colleagues said they would not rule in any such proceeding. Normally in cases like this, the Supreme Court orders the formation of a three-judge panel to recommend a course of action to the justices. But the court never formed such a panel in Prosser’s case. And since the complaint was filed, the Journal-Sentinel says the makeup of the Judicial Commission has changed so that it’s now controlled by appointees made by Governor Scott Walker – a vocal supporter of Prosser.
State officials who oversee the Capitol Police force say they have no record of providing extra security to Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. She claimed in a court filing yesterday that the Capitol Police created a security plan for Bradley and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, to protect the pair after Justice David Prosser started getting angrier. But the Walker administration, who runs the Capitol Police, told the Associated Press it had no record of a security plan being implemented for Bradley and Abrahamson. Bradley, a member of the court’s liberal wing, said the extra security began two months before Prosser put Bradley in a choke-hold during a spat over the state’s limits on public union bargaining. She included the claim in a legal record filed six days before conservative Justice Pat Roggensack stands for re-election in a three-way primary. Bradley told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel she wrote about the matter because she didn’t like how Roggensack was trying to underplay the court’s tensions and her security concerns. Bradley denied trying to sway voters in Tuesday’s primary. But a Roggensack defeat would end the court’s conservative majority. And her campaign consultant said it was obvious that politics were behind Bradley’s court filing.
Violent crime in Wisconsin’s largest city rose by almost nine-and-a-half percent last year. Milwaukee Police reported almost 7,600 murders, sexual assaults, robberies, and aggravated assaults in 2012 – the most since Police Chief Ed Flynn was hired in 2008. The increase in violent crime was spurred by 33-percent more assaults, due mainly to domestic violence incidents which were up 50-percent in 2011. Milwaukee had 92 murders last year, five more than the previous year. The news was not all bad, though. Robberies were down by 13-percent. Property crimes like burglary and theft dropped by just over three-percent, and that led to an eight-tenths-of-one-percent drop in overall crime. Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett did not hold a news conference to announce the figures, like they normally do when violent crime goes down. In a news release, Flynn said his policing strategies might have actually caused some categories of crime to go up. As an example, he said his department’s outreach to prevent domestic violence might have caused more of those incidents to be reported to officers. Mayor Barrett said vacant homes and foreclosures remain a factor in crime – and he asked state officials to help Milwaukee tackle that issue.
The wife of a Dane County murder suspect pleaded innocent yesterday to helping hide the victim’s body. 26-year-old military police officer Shannon Remus entered her plea in Dane County Circuit Court, after she was ordered to stand trial on a felony charge of hiding a corpse. Future court dates were not immediately set. Remus’ husband, 28-year-old Jeffrey Vogelsberg, is accused beating his autistic half-brother to death last year when the two lived together in Mazomanie. Prosecutors said their landlord, Robert McCumber, led police to a wooded area near Lone Rock where 27-year-old Matthew Graville was found buried in early November. According to earlier testimony, Remus helped her husband and McCumber remove Graville’s body from a freezer, where it was stored before being taken to public land for burial. McCumber has a pre-trial hearing this afternoon on a charge of hiding a corpse. Vogelsberg is due back in court May sixth for a hearing on pre-trial requests. He’s charged with homicide and hiding a corpse.
An 81-year-old man will spend six months in jail, after he admitted secretly video-taping two college interns who were staying at his house while working on a lake project. Elmer Goetsch of Three Lakes was also ordered to spend three years on probation, after he pleaded guilty in Oneida County to felony charges of capturing and reproducing nudity. The jail time includes work release privileges, and Goetsch must also perform 200 hours of community service each year of his sentence. And he has to write letters of apology to the interns, who were from UW-Oshkosh and Saint Norbert in De Pere. They were helping the Three Lakes Waterfront Association with a clean boat-and-water initiative. The Oshkosh intern told police that he heard an odd sound from Goetsch’s bedroom – and when he checked it out, he saw an image of his room on Goetsch’s TV. Cameras were later found in both interns’ rooms. Prosecutors said the home was later searched, and police found three pinhole cameras and a tape with nude images of the first intern. Goetsch had been a long-time member of the Oneida County Board of Adjustment and Library Board. He stepped down from both panels soon after he was charged last June.
A former Rhinelander surgeon has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for possessing child pornography. 52-year-old Bruce Jacobson was also put on three years’ probation, after he pleaded guilty last July in Oneida County to a single felony possession charge. Authorities found 26 images of child porn at his home last year. Jacobson was arrested in December of 2011, and later resigned from Ministry Health Care. Judge Jay Tlusty left open another 90-day jail term in Calumet County if the state could show it was needed. But the judge said a long prison sentence was not necessary. Tlusty said Jacobson is making progress with addiction treatment. He had no prior record, was not a pedophile, and was not a threat to the community. Jacobson was charged just three months before a new state law took effect that requires at least three years in prison for all child porn convictions in Wisconsin. Lawmakers said they thought judges were letting too many child porn convicts stay out of prison. As part of Jacobson’s sentence, he must serve 240 hours of community service, register as a sex offender, and stay away from the Internet.
After three weeks of combing through garbage, Milwaukee Police have given their landfill search for a transgender rap artist who was murdered. Sergeant Mark Stanmeyer said detectives had narrowed the area where Ebony Young’s remains were most likely to be located. But after tons of trash were moved and searched, officers could find no signs of Young’s body. Stanmeyer says they’re disappointed – but they believe they have enough other evidence to convict five men who are charged with homicide. Search dogs, excavators, and landfill workers joined police in the search. Young had been missing since New Year’s Day, and police said she was the victim of an internal gang dispute. Her body was thrown in a trash bin – but authorities didn’t know it until after it was hauled away, and that’s why the landfill search was necessary. One of the defendants told police he thought Young was male, but officials said the victim changed genders to become a female.