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CRIME AND COURT ROUNDUP: Dairy leaders condemn animal abuse in Brown County

Wisconsin dairy leaders are condemning the animal abuse videotaped at a large farm in Brown County. An investigator from Mercy-for-Animals taped incidents at the Wiese Brothers Farm near Greenleaf in which cows were kicked, whipped, and suspended in the air. State veterinarian Paul McGraw saw the video and called the abuse "terrible." He said the state would not be involved in an investigation, because that's up to local authorities. Wiese Brothers condemned the incidents and said it would cooperate with a Brown County sheriff's probe. The farm supplies milk for some of the cheese used in DiGiorno's frozen pizza. That company's owner, Nestle, has stopped using milk from the Wiese farm. Wiese Brothers said it fired two employees, re-assigned another, and assigned three employees to take care of any downed animals. Mercy-for-Animals says that's not good enough. It wants Nestle to demand animal welfare reforms on all the farms where the giant food company gets its milk. There's been no response to that. Dairy leaders were also surprised that the abuse occurred at what they called a "showcase operation" for modern farming practices and cleanliness. Shelly Mayer of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin said she had heard nothing but good things about Wiese, which had about 81-hundred animals as of earlier this year.


A central Wisconsin man will spend 18 years in prison for robbing-and-attacking an elderly couple near Wausau in 2009. 23-year-old Sean Stankowski of Marathon must also spend seven-and-a-half years under extended supervision once he's no longer behind bars. He was sentenced yesterday after he pleaded guilty in October to amended charges in Marathon County. Stankowski was convicted on eight counts including armed robbery, burglary, battery, reckless endangerment, and bail jumping. Prosecutors said he asked a Weston couple to use their phone, and them robbed them at knife-point. One of the victims fought back, and was struck. Stankowski and a getaway driver, Kaitlyn Lang, then fled. He went into a nearby house where he was arrested after an hour-long manhunt. Lang got six months in jail and three years' probation.


A Kenosha man still maintains his innocence, after being sentenced yesterday to 110 years in prison for a murder and two robbery attempts in northeast Illinois. 29-year-old Montago Suggs plans to appeal. He was given 80 years for first-degree murder in the robbery of a former check-cashing store in Waukegan (waw-kee'-gn) in which 22-year-old Mindy Morrell of Round Lake Park Illinois was shot-in-the-head and killed. Suggs also got 30 additional years for a similar hold-up attempt at a corner grocery store in Beach Park five days after Morrell was killed. In that holdup, authorities said Suggs fired a gun at the clerk but there was no bullet in the chamber. He then ran off, and was captured later in Wisconsin. Two defense laywers plan to file a formal request on January third to re-consider the sentences.  


The final chapter was written yesterday in a botched federal sting operation in Milwaukee. The last of 34 defendants received probation for buying guns with his cousin -- a convicted felon -- and later selling them to federal A-T-F agents for up to three times the original purchase price. The Journal Sentinel said the high prices was among the tactics the government used to jack up the numbers of arrests from last year's sting operation. Neither side recommended prison yesterday for 33-year-old Courvoisie Bryant. His lawyer said the government did nothing more than manufacture a crime and create a criminal. The sting operation, called Operation Fearless, was intended to get illegal guns off the streets by setting up a fake storefront in Milwaukee. However, the store was burglarized -- 40-thousand dollars in merchandise was lifted -- and an A-T-F agent had his machine gun stolen from a vehicle. It was still missing at last word. Thirty-four people were charged in state and federal courts as a result of the sting. Eight people had their cases dropped because they were either wrongly arrested, or the lead A-T-F agent failed to testify. Eight other defendants escaped jail or prison time. Of the other 18, the median prison sentence was two years.