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Wisconsin roundup: Supreme Court candidates down to Dallet, Screnock; more state news stories

Image courtesy of Forum News Service

MADISON — Voters had to battle snow in the north and flooding in the south, but they went to the polls Tuesday in the Wisconsin primary.

In the only statewide vote, Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock and Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet earned the right to meet April 3 for the open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Madison lawyer Tim Burns was eliminated. Screnock got the most votes in the election held to trim the field to two candidates. The state's high court is currently controlled by conservatives, five justices to two.


First charges filed in statewide DNA testing

FOX CROSSING — The state Department of Justice has filed the first charges as a result of the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

That's a statewide program developed to address the decades-long accumulation of untested sexual assault or rape kits held by local police or hospitals. Twenty-nine-year-old Aaron Heiden of Eau Claire was charged with two felony sexual assault counts based on a 10-year-old case. Charges against Heiden were filed Tuesday. DNA evidence from the victim's sexual assault kit hadn't been tested since it was collected in 2008. It matched Heiden.


Dassey attorneys ask U.S. Supreme Court to hear appeal

WASHINGTON — Convicted killer Brendan Dassey's legal team has asked the nation's high court to hear his appeal.

The attorneys went to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Seventh Circuit Appeals Court upheld his conviction last December. Dassey, whose fate was popularized in the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer,” confessed to helping his uncle murder freelance photographer Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County in 2005. He was 16 years old at the time.

His attorneys are challenging the confession, saying his low IQ made him susceptible to suggestions by the police detectives questioning him. If the court sides with Dassey, it could also impact Steven Avery's conviction in the 2007 case.


Eau Claire man charged with 9 felony sex crimes

EAU CLAIRE — A 23-year-old Eau Claire man is facing nine felony sex crime charges.

A girl tells police Joshua Weichert had sex with her twice when she was 15 years old. She met Weichert when he was running the "Sons of American Legion," a program for the children of Legion members. He's also charged with possessing, distributing and exhibiting nude photos of a woman without her permission. He apparently told the victim he would send photos of her to other people unless she sent him more nude photos.


Minn. man dies in Bayfield County snowmobile crash

TOWN OF WASHBURN — The Bayfield County Sheriff's Office reports a Minnesota man died in a weekend snowmobile accident.

Witnesses told deputies John Rathai of Medford was riding a snowmobile in the town of Washburn when he rear-ended another machine which had stopped. He suffered severe injuries in the accident Saturday at about 2 p.m. He was taken to Ashland Memorial Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Investigators say Rathai was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.


High school students cited for brawl

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police report 21 students at Hamilton High School have been cited for disorderly conduct.

The students got in trouble when a fight broke out at the school Tuesday morning. The brawl was caught on video surveillance and police used some of that information to determine who was at fault. Officials with the Milwaukee Public School system say all of the students will face disciplinary action, pending the results of the full police investigation. The school says it is conducting its own investigation in cooperation with the police.


Sheboygan snowball thrower arrested on drug possession charge

SHEBOYGAN — Police say they have arrested a 58-year-old man on cocaine possession charges.

Sheboygan officers had been called to the location about a man throwing snowballs at a house and continuously banging on the back door. Terry Miller was already wanted for violating his probation. While officers were present, they say Miller took a plastic bag out of a pocket which contained a substance the police officer believed to be cocaine. A field test confirmed it. If convicted on the possession charge, Miller could face an additional two years behind bars.


State Supreme Court affirms Richfield man’s murder conviction

MADISON — The Wisconsin Supreme Court has rejected arguments that a suburban Milwaukee man wasn't properly advised of his Miranda rights when he confessed to the strangulation his ex-girlfriend five years ago.

Jessie Blodgett was thought to be alive at the time, but her body was found in her Hartford apartment. That led to an upgraded charge, a homicide conviction and a life sentence for Daniel Bartelt. The court ruled Bartelt wasn't in custody when he confessed to the non-fatal attack. He was arrested and advised of his right after he confessed. He was arrested for killing Blodgett the next day.