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WISCONSIN NEWS ROUND-UP: Motive still a mystery in double-murder by sheriff's deputy

MADISON - Dane County prosecutors are still not offering any motive for a double murder in Fitchburg earlier this month. 

Formal charges were filed Friday against former sheriff’s deputy Andrew Steele.  The 39-year-old Steele faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting deaths of his wife, Ashlee Steele, and his sister-in-law, Kacee Tollefsbol of Stillwater.  If convicted, Steele would be sentenced to two life prison terms.  He is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.  His attorney says she plans to investigate her client’s mental stability.  He made a court appearance by video Friday.  Steele is being held in the Rock County Jail due to his close associations with Dane County Jail officials.


Wisconsin Democrats say disappointing job numbers and a decline in tax collections show economic policies by Governor Scott Walker are failing.  The tax collections were $281-million less than expected for the fiscal year which ended in June.  That projects to a $115-million shortfall by next June 30th.  At the same time, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has reported private-sector jobs have grown at a stagnant one-point-three-percent during the 12-month period ending last March.  The governor downplayed the impact of the disappointing revenue collections saying the shortfall could be avoided by controlling expenditures and continued economic growth.  Walker is just over two months away from a November election which has him facing a strong challenger in Democrat Mary Burke.  A poll last week shows the race in a dead-heat.


University police say a University of Wisconsin-Madison student was taken to a de-tox facility for his own safety after he was found heavily intoxicated early Friday in Madison.  Officers spotted him slumping in a downtown parking garage ramp.  The 25-year-old man was alone and stumbling as he walked up a stairwell at the Lake Street Ramp at 2:15 a.m. His preliminary blood alcohol content level was four times the legal limit to drive.  UWPD police say binge drinking can be very dangerous.  Not only can it injure your health, it can also make you vulnerable to criminal attacks.


The former head of UW Hospitals and Clinics will get at least $1.3 million dollars in severance pay when she retires from her job Monday.  The exit agreement between Donna Katen-Bahensky shows she will be paid her $853,000 salary for the next 18 months, plus an incentive bonus earned during the last fiscal year.  Her position was to be eliminated after the integration of the UW Hospital and its physicians group and the UW Medical Foundation.  Though it wasn’t for “cause,” her departure was involuntary, which makes the payout appropriate.  She had come to Wisconsin from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics six years ago.


A man accused of running an illegal after-hours tavern at his house on Milwaukee’s west side says he is the victim of harassment.  Daron Maye says police are conspiring to get him out of his home and into jail.  He disputes police reports of a shooting at that location last Sunday and he says an arrest on charges of operating while intoxicated two weeks ago were trumped up.  Maye says he was in his yard, not in a vehicle and he wasn’t pulled over.  City attorneys are asking a judge to force Maye and his wife to close the tavern and vacate their duplex for 90 days.  A hearing has been set for September 16th in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.