Crime and Court Roundup: Racine man to enter pleas on homicide chargesWisconsin News
-- A Racine man is scheduled to enter pleas April 18th to charges that he killed his wife, and then set fire to himself and a relative’s house.
A Racine man is scheduled to enter pleas April 18th to charges that he killed his wife, and then set fire to himself and a relative’s house. 36-year-old Joseph Guerrero waived a preliminary hearing yesterday in Racine County Circuit Court on charges of homicide, mutilating a corpse, and arson. 21-year-old Bianca Vite was killed last December as she and Guerrero argued in a home that one of his relatives rented in Mount Pleasant. Prosecutors said Vite scratched Guerrero in the face – and he grabbed her neck and threw her against a wall. Authorities said he tried to revive her, but she wouldn’t wake up. Guerrero then passed out. And when he woke up, officials said he lit the home’s furniture and carpeting on fire, and then himself. Guerrero reportedly left the house just as the fire was starting to spread.
An Oshkosh man would spend five years in prison, under a plea deal he made with prosecutors for a drunk driving death. 32-year-old Jeremy Derks pleaded no contest yesterday in Winnebago County to a felony charge of homicide by drunk driving. Three other charges were dropped in the plea bargain. That includes bail jumping, for having alcohol even though he was not supposed to drink as a condition of being free on bond in a previous case. Authorities said Derks blew past a stop-sign last May near Omro, and collided with another vehicle. A passenger in that vehicle, 84-year-old Richard Bielinski of Omro, was killed. Derks will be sentenced May ninth.
Milwaukee has long had one of the nation’s highest poverty rates – but Police Chief Ed Flynn says the city has the lowest murder rate among 10 big cities with similar poverty. Milwaukee had 92 homicides last year, almost six-percent more than the previous year. Total violent crime jumped by almost nine-and-a-half percent. Flynn told the city’s Public Safety Committee that there’s too much violence in Milwaukee – but compared to cities with similar challenges, he says it’s quote, “a better place than one might expect.” Flynn says the most violent crime is limited to just a few neighborhoods where poverty, unemployment, and abandoned homes are at their highest. Flynn included Philadelphia and Detroit in his comparison of murder rates, along with Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Memphis, among others. He said they all have the same plight, with about three-of-every-10 residents living below the poverty line. Flynn has urged Congress to ban assault weapons and require standard background checks for gun buyers. He’s also been urging state legislators for some time to make it a felony to buy guns for criminals, and for repeat offenders to carry concealed weapons. Those measures and others have not gone anywhere in the Republican-controlled Legislature in the last two sessions.
A 40-year-old woman has been given a second life prison term for killing her lover in northern Wisconsin, just a few days after she killed her husband in Minnesota. Angelina O’Mara pleaded no contest yesterday to an Ashland County charge of first-degree intentional homicide. She decided not to even schedule a trial for her Wisconsin case, after she was given her first life prison term last December. Prosecutors said O’Mara shot her husband James in Sauk Rapids Minnesota in late 2011, then shot her 36-year-old boyfriend Michael Pies at Anderson’s Chequamegon Motel in Ashland. Both men were shot in the head. O’Mara will serve both of her life sentences in Minnesota, and the Ashland judge refused to give her a chance at a supervised release for her case there. She was also ordered to pay 26-hundred dollars in restitution to Pies’ family.
An autopsy was scheduled yesterday on a 14-month-old boy who died after being attacked by two pit bulls at his baby-sitter’s house in Walworth County. There was no immediate word on the results. And unless new evidence turns up, sheriff’s officials say the babysitter – Susan Iwicki – will not face criminal charges. The attacks occurred Wednesday at Iwicki’s home near Walworth. Media reports identify the fatal victim as Daxton Borchardt. His father has been venting on Facebook, saying pit bulls should be bred out of existence because quote, “They are naturally wired to bite down on flesh and not let go.” Iwicki was also attacked by her pit bulls. She was taken to a Lake Geneva hospital, but there was no immediate word on her condition.