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STATE CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: La Crosse woman cited for trespassing after falling 100 feet from bluff

A 22-year-old La Crosse woman was given a 303-dollar ticket, after she fell almost 100-feet down Grandad Bluff while hiking in an unauthorized area. The woman called 9-1-1 from her cell phone around 7:30 yesterday morning after she fell 40-to-50-feet off the tall bluff, and then tumbled another 50-feet. She landed near the base of a rock ledge. Authorities said it took a half-hour just to find the hiker – and it took two hours to rescue her, since crews had to cut down trees to reach her. Officials said the woman suffered severe but non-life-threatening injuries, but they were not more specific. She was taken to a hospital for treatment. La Crosse Police officials said that if the woman did not have a cell phone, they might not have been able to find her – and she probably would have died. She was ticketed for trespassing. She can challenge the citation next month in court.   


It might be years, or even decades before Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan could be put to death. That’s because there’s a long appeals’ process in the military justice system. A jury ordered the death penalty yesterday for Hasan, who killed two Wisconsinites and 11 others in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood Texas in November of 2009. Amy Krueger of Kiel and Russell Saeger of Mount Pleasant lost their lives, as Hasan claimed he tried to protect Muslims from U-S troops training to serve in Afghanistan. That’s what he told the media. The 42-year-old Hasan was not allowed to make that argument before the jury. So he put up almost no defense during either his trial or his sentencing proceeding. Hasan’s supporters portrayed him as a martyr, but prosecutors said he was nothing but a cold-blooded killer. Krueger and Saeger were part of a Madison unit training to help fellow troops deal with stress while in the Middle East. Six Wisconsinites in that unit were injured, among 32 that Hasan wounded. For now, Hasan is being taken to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. In the last 30 years, military juries have handed down 16 death sentences. Eleven were overturned, and five military prisoners are on death row today. No U-S soldier has been executed since 1961.


The death of a Sheboygan County man in his barn has been ruled an accident. Authorities said 60-year-old Douglas Orzechowski was digging a hole in his barn in the town of Mitchell when he collapsed while he was three-feet down. Sheriff’s deputies said yesterday that Orzechowski died from accidental positional asphyxiation. He was found dead in the hole late Tuesday afternoon. 


A Wausau area woman is accused of stealing over 41-thousand-dollars in Social Security disability payments on behalf of her disabled son. A federal grand jury in Madison indicted 54-year-old Susan Schepp of Weston yesterday. Her first court appearance was not immediately scheduled. Assistant U-S Attorney Bob Anderson said Schepp fraudulently collected checks on her son’s disability, after he was supposed to stop receiving them. The prosecutor said Schepp carried out the scam from June of 2003 through September of 2008 – but her son did not discover it until a few years later, when he alerted Social Security officials.


A former dean-of-students at the Milwaukee School of Engineering is due back in court today, for allegedly driving the wrong way on a freeway while drunk. The school announced yesterday that 69-year-old Patrick Coffey of New Berlin has retired in the wake of his arrest. Authorities said he drove 14 miles the wrong way on August 15th, while in the northbound lanes of Interstates 43-and-94 in Milwaukee and Racine counties. In Milwaukee County, Coffey has pleaded innocent to felony reckless endangerment, plus misdemeanor counts of O-W-I and driving with a prohibited blood alcohol level. He has a court date a week from tomorrow on Milwaukee County traffic charges of driving the wrong way on a divided highway, and not telling police about an accident. Coffey also has two traffic citations pending in Racine County for the incident – driving the wrong way, and reckless driving causing endangerment. 


Two robbery suspects apparently shot themselves to death, after they robbed a liquor store near Oshkosh and held police at bay in their car for two hours. It all started around four yesterday afternoon, when a man and a woman allegedly robbed Hank’s Payne’s Point in Vinland at gunpoint, getting away with around 600-dollars. Winnebago County sheriff’s officials said the getaway car was later stopped on a busy Highway 41 expressway, when the two stayed in their car and engaged officers in a standoff. Several law enforcement agencies responded, including SWAT team officers. The freeway was closed at the height of the afternoon rush hour. Traffic was backed up for miles, despite detours that were set up. Around six, officers said they heard two gunshots from the vehicle – and the two suspects were found dead. Officials said nobody from law enforcement fired any shots during the incident. Oshkosh Police is now leading an investigation.   

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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