December 1, 2015

Steele asks court for release from institution

Andy Steele

Andy Steele

A Fitchburg man, who was found not guilty of the murder of his wife and sister-in-law due to a mental defect, is asking to be released from the mental institution.

The attorney for 41-year-old Andrew Steele argues his client needs 24 hour care due to his Lou Gehrig’s disease, and the facility where he is currently being kept is not equipped to provide it to him.

Steele had pleaded guilty to two homicide charges for the August 2014 deaths of wife Ashlee Steele and her sister, Kacee Tollefsboll. Both were found dead at the Steele’s home in Fitchburg, a Madison suburb. In April of this year, a jury found Steele was not legally responsible for the deaths due to a mental disease or defect, and he was committed. State law allows him to petition for release every six months.

A judge is expected to appoint an independent examiner to evaluate Steele and will report back to the court.


Shooter sought in killing of two sandhill cranes

Conservation wardens in Shawano County are looking for whoever is responsible for killing two sandhill cranes. Marv Malone told WLUK that he watched three of the protected cranes from his home near Gresham for the past couple weeks. On Sunday morning, a game warden discovered two of the birds dead.

“From the location of the cranes, that were in the field adjacent to the road, it appeared someone came driving down the road, seen the cranes, and shot them, possibly from the vehicle,” said Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Conservation Warden Beau Miller. Miller said the sandhill cranes were likely shot with a high-caliber rifle.

“We have a few people that heard shots in the area, but nobody that actually seen it happen,” he told WLUK.

Monroe County man charged in death of infant son

A western Wisconsin man has been charged in the death of his 3-month-old son. Twenty-six year-old Troy Tralmer made his initial court appearance on Tuesday in Monroe County Court. He waived the state’s time limits for a preliminary hearing, and is due back in court February 15th on two felony counts of reckless homicide and reckless child abuse.

Prosecutors say Tralmer claimed to have dropped his son Chad while performing the Heimlich maneuver. According to the criminal complaint, Tralmer said the child choked on milk and stopped breathing. An autopsy found that Chad had a fractured skull, bleeding in his brain, and seven broken ribs. Investigators said his father denied shaking the baby.


Menasha man charged with child porn, sexually assaulting 9-year-old girl

Derek Rose

Derek Rose

A Menasha man is facing more than two dozen charges after he allegedly sexually assaulted a girl in his neighborhood and took inappropriate photos of her. On Monday, 53-year-old Derek Rose was charged with a total of 27 counts. Rose is due for his initial court appearance in Winnebago County Wednesday.

The 27 counts include 21 for possession of child pornography and 2 counts each of child enticement, child sexual exploitation and first-degree sexual assault of a child. Investigators uncovered various child porn images on Rose’s computer and cell phone, according to the criminal complaint.

Police found correspondence during a search of phone records where Rose allegedly talks about his encounters with the girl. A search warrant allowed police to determine that six photos of the girl, now age 9, were taken at his home. Officers spoke with the girl, who lives in Rose’s neighborhood. She says Rose touched her inappropriately.

“(The victim) stated that this occurred in defendant’s garage while he was taking pictures of her sliding down the hood of his car and once in the backyard when they were having movies on movie night. (The victim) said that ‘garage nights were nights that the defendant would project movies onto the garage for the kids and families in the neighborhood to watch,” the complaint states. Only one victim is identified in the complaint but in online comments about various photos, Rose suggests “he personally knows the girls,” the complaint says.

The complaint does not cite any statements from Rose from interviews with police, although in an email with an undercover officer, he describes his situation. “I’m the beloved ‘grandfather figure’ to all the neighborhood kids. And all the little girls have crushes on me. It’s a kind of heaven. Makes up for the fact there isn’t any pervy stuff to do here, like in my precious big cities,” he wrote.


Woman sentenced in OWI death of Polk County pedestrian

Jeanne Fisher: Polk Co. Sheriff

Jeanne Fisher: Polk Co. Sheriff

Polk County District Attorney Dan Steffen says the case of a woman sentenced on Monday in the drunk-driving death of a firefighter last year was unique. Thirty-four Jeanne Fisher of Luck was sentenced to six months in jail and 100 hours of community service for 5 years. Fisher was originally charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. Fisher’s vehicle struck pedestrian Chad Hansen during the early morning hours of January 24, on Highway 35 between Luck and Milltown, during a snowstorm.

“I made this offer after consulting with all of my deputies and my accident reconstruction person,” Steffen said. “We basically couldn’t even recreate where the accident took place . . . because of the storm.”

Steffen said members of Hansen’s family have voiced differing views on what should happen to Fisher. “You’ve got a whole set of victims here, some wanting punishment, and some wanting forgiveness and rehabilitation.” Fisher must also spend the five weekends closest to the date of the January 24 accident in the Polk County Jail for the next five years.

The circumstances leading to Hansen walking in the highway traffic lane have never been explained. After striking Hansen, Fisher admitted to a law enforcement officer that she had been at a Luck tavern just prior, where she had four mixed drinks and a shot of liquor before driving, stating she was on her way to another tavern when she saw Hansen in the roadway, but could not swerve far enough out of the way or stop fast enough to miss him.