News 6/12/2010

Waupun Inmate Sentenced For Assisted Suicide

6/12/10 – A state prisoner at Waupun will spend an extra two years and three months behind bars, for helping a cellmate kill himself last year. 21-year-old Joshua Walters was sentenced Friday for helping 20-year-old Adam Peterson hang himself in January of last year. Prosecutors say it’s the first time in Wisconsin history that a person was convicted of criminal assisted suicide. Walters struck a plea deal earlier this month. He avoided what could have been a much longer prison term when a proposed penalty-enhancer was dropped. Dodge County Circuit Judge Andrew Bissonette said the 27 months behind bars and 27 more months of extended supervision were long enough to punish Walters, and send a message to other prisoners not to do the same thing. The judge also questioned whether Peterson would have been successful in hanging himself had Walters not helped him. Walters said he tied the noose from a bed sheet, and then tested it with his arm. He called it a “stupid mistake.” Peterson was a former U-W Madison student from Stillwater Minnesota. He was awaiting a possible parole date, after he admitted stabbing Joel Marino to death outside his home in Madison in January of 2008. The assisted suicide charge resulted from a conversation Walters had with another Waupun inmate after the hanging.

Edwards Sentenced For Akron Slayings

6/12/10 – The man who admitted killing two high school sweet-hearts in Jefferson County in 1980 pleaded guilty Friday to two similar murders in Akron Ohio. 76-year-old Edward Edwards was sentenced to two life prison terms for the 1977 shooting deaths of Bill Lavaco and Judith Straub. Edwards, who’s in a wheelchair with complications of diabetes, won’t be eligible for parole until he’s 97 if he lives that long. He faces two life terms in Wisconsin for the slayings of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew. But he won’t actually do the time for those crimes unless he serves his sentence in Ohio. Still, he’ll be sentenced in Jefferson County. Officers from the Badger State were in the courtroom in Akron to take him back for that sentencing. Edwards listened to the victims’ family members express their grief about the Ohio shootings, which happened at close range. And he turned down a chance to speak for himself. Edwards answered questions with only one-or-two words. He was arrested last July after D-N-A evidence linked him to the murders of Hack and Drew as they left a wedding reception in Sullivan in 1980. Their bodies were found a number of weeks later. He confessed in April to the Ohio slayings.

Woman IDed In Fatal Wreck

6/12/10- Authorities have released the name of a Juneau woman killed in car accident in eastern Dodge County Thursday morning. 37-year-old Amy L. Toll-Bork clipped the back end of a car she was trying to pass on Highway 33 near County AY. Toll-Bork’s pick-up hit a highway embankment, went airborne and rolled several times before coming to rest in a ditch. She was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene.

BDPD Recovers Stolen Vehicle

6/12/10- The Beaver Dam Police Department recovered a stolen vehicle Thursday night. Deputy Chief Dan Schubert says officers were called to the band shell at Swan City Park in reference to possible drug activity. Three juveniles from the Dane County area were taken into custody on charges of obstruction, for allegedly withholding their identities, and marijuana possession. The vehicle – a 2001 Nissan pick-up — was stolen from Middleton and returned to the rightful owners. Two of the teens were taken to a juvenile detention facility in West Bend while the third was released to their parent’s custody.

Brothers Arrested For OWI In Same Night

6/12/10 – A Hubertus man was arrested by Dodge County Sheriff deputies early Saturday morning for his fourth Operating While Intoxicated charge. 24-year-old Joshua M. Kirsch was

arrested followed a routine traffic stop on County Trunk P in the Town of Rubicon around 1am. Meanwhile, 22-year-old Joseph P. Kirsch of Hubertus was waiting to his pick-up his brother at the Dodge County jail and was also arrested for his fourth OWI.

City Smoking Ban Mirrors State

6/12/10 – The Beaver Dam Common Council will consider adoption of a local smoking ban, which closely mirrors the state statute. The ordinance has gone through multiple changes since it was first discussed in committee in April. The city had planned to go above-and-beyond the statewide ban which takes effect July 5. Original wording has been removed that would have prohibited smoking outdoors in places like taverns with patios where food is served or around volleyball courts, as well as in city park. City Attorney Mary Ann Schacht says the state has informed municipalities that they cannot adopt a smoking ban that is more stringent that the state statute. Passage of the city ordinance will allow the city to keep any money collected from fines. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the ordinance before its second reading on the council floor June 21.

Van Fire In Hospital Parking Lot

6/12/10 – The Beaver Dam Fire Department responded to a minivan fire Thursday afternoon in the parking lot of the Beaver Dam Community Hospital. Crews responded just after 1pm to the lot off South University Avenue. Flames were visible from the engine compartment of the 2001 Ford Windstar when firefighters arrived. They were able to keep the blaze confined to the front of the vehicle, which sustained extensive damage. There were no injures. Personnel were on scene for less than a half hour.

Milwaukee PS Issues Layoff Notices

6/12/10 – For the first time in nearly 30 years the Milwaukee Public School District has laid off teachers. Layoff notices were sent to 482 teachers yesterday. It was the first time for notices like that to be sent to substitute teachers. MPS is struggling to deal with huge budget shortfalls. The last time teachers were laid off was 1982. Late last month, layoff notices were sent to more than 230 educational assistants.

Dem’s Hold Party Convention

6/12/10 – Senator Russ Feingold says he promises to be a “pain in the neck” to special interests. Feingold’s comments came at a Middleton reception before the start of this weekend’s Wisconsin Democratic Party convention. He’s running for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate against businessman Ron Johnson and Watertown’s Dave Westlake. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine was last night’s keynote speaker. He is a former Virginia governor, lieutenant governor and mayor of Richmond. Kaine says the midterm elections are always difficult for the party in power, but he thinks Feingold will win his re-election campaign.

Obama Admin Turns Focus To Janesville

6/12/10 – Obama administration officials visit Janesville to help work on linking federal and local efforts toward economy recovery. White House Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, Ed Montgomery says the President has asked the group to get out of Washington and recognize that what’s going on in Janesville is different than what’s going on in Detroit, Michigan, or in Spring Hill, Tennessee or other areas around the country. Montgomery was at the Rock County Job Center yesterday. His group was compiling a list of requests and concerns to take back to Washington.

Army Base Trespasser Deported

6/12/10 – A woman who pleaded guilty to trespassing at Fort McCoy will be deported. Trial was to start this month for Georgina Ponce Mendoza, but she reached a plea agreement on the charges. She was sentenced to 82 days in jail — time she had already served. Mendoza was accused of using a false identification card to get into the base last February. Mendoza spoke only Spanish, but a woman who was with her said she had been hired to work on the base by a temporary employment agency.

Madison Chief Requests New Detectives

6/12/10 – Madison’s police chief says 10 percent of offenders commit half the crimes. Chief Noble Wray wants to create a new detective unit to work with prosecutors to get more serious legal penalties for repeat offenders. He’s asking for three or four additional detectives for his department. He’d also like to add up to 21 new patrol officers. That would be the first increase in street presence for the department in three years. Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard has been quoted as saying a staffing shortage in his office affects charging decisions. Blanchard says the new detective unit could present stronger cases to his office, resulting in strong charges being filed.