September 18, 2014

Group sues to have Wisconsin same-sex marriages recognized

Same-sex marriage being performed in Madison. (File photo: WRN)

Same-sex marriage being performed in Madison. (File photo: WRN)

A federal lawsuit filed in Madison this week seeks to settle the question of whether the almost 600 gay marriages performed in Wisconsin earlier this year should be legally recognized.

The marriage licenses were issued in early June, during the brief window after Federal Judge Barbara Crabb ruled Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. County clerks across the state began issuing licenses almost immediately after the ruling, although Crabb put a stay on the decision a week later while the state appealed. The new lawsuit seeks a legal declaration that the weddings performed during that time period are valid.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has said they were not valid. At one point, he said prosecutors could criminally charge county clerks who issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples, although he backed off from those statements a short time later. The state Justice Department has not commented on the new lawsuit.

A federal appeals court recently affirmed Judge Crabb’s ruling. The state is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make a final decision.

Wausau man pleads no contest in beheading case

Kou Thao

Kou Thao

The Wausau man accused of beheading a Saint Paul man last spring has pleaded no contest in the case.

Kou Thao, 29, pleaded no contest on Wednesday to second degree intentional homicide, hiding a corpse and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Police say Thao killed 58-year-old Tong Pau Hang when the man visited Wausau in April of last year. Police found parts of Hang’s body in both Wausau and Milwaukee. Other body parts were found inside the home where Thao was arrested.

Thao’s attorney repeatedly asked for competency evaluations in the case, but all of doctors involved determined that Thao was competent both at the time of the crime and was able to assist in his own defense.

Thao remains jailed on a million dollar bond, and will be back in court for his sentencing hearing January 21.


Merrill woman who drugged another goes to jail

Kristine Woellner

Kristine Woellner

A Merrill woman is going to prison for injecting heroin into another person.

Kristine Woellner, 20, was sentenced to four years in prison, and then five more years on extended supervision. She was convicted in Lincoln County of injecting the drug into a woman, and leaving her in a gas station bathroom, unable to deal with an overdose of the drug last October. Woellner drove away in a friend’s vehicle.

Court records say a man and the victim drove to Michigan to pick Woellner up and bring her back to Wisconsin. The victim wasn’t feeling well, and allowed Woellner to inject the heroin in her leg. The next thing she recalled was waking up in a hospital.

Woellner was convicted of delivering heroin, recklessly endangering safety, possession of drug paraphernalia, and operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

This is not the first time Woellner has been in trouble. She was given probation in 2012 for intentionally blowing marijuana smoke in the face of a six-month-old baby.


Walworth County authorities investigate dog shooting

Officials released this photo of the type of dog found and the blanket it was found wrapped in.

Officials released this photo of the type of dog found and the blanket it was found wrapped in.

Walworth County authorities are looking for anyone who may have information about a dog that was found shot to death near the White River Trail in Geneva Township.

The Walworth County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded to a parking lot on Sunday and spoke with two people who found a dead dog wrapped in a blanket near the trail. According to deputies, the dog appears to be a yellow, female, Bullmastiff with a black face, weighing about 90 pounds. It had been shot eight times and was wrapped in a gray blanket with a plaid design on one side.

Officials say the dog was transported to an area animal shelter, where staff scanned it for a microchip, although one was not found. The animal was groomed, with trimmed nails. Its fur was matted down around the neck, indicating it had been wearing a collar at one point.

The sheriff’s office is asking to speak to anyone who may have information about what happened to the animal or who might have owned the dog before its death.


More time sought for mental review of Antigo man charged with beating teen

Dylan Madderom

Dylan Madderom

The Langlade County district attorney’s office is asking for more time to review a competency exam for a man charged in the August beating of a teen.

Dylan Madderom, 18, is currently facing charges of recklessly endangering safety, child abuse, aggravated battery and delivery of marijuana. A competency exam was performed earlier this month, and prosecutor Ralph Uttke asked the court for more time to go over the results and talk with defense attorney Andrew Morgan about their findings.

The judge granted that request and set a scheduling conference for September 29th at 3:30 pm in his chambers.

Madderom is accused of covering his head with his shirt, and clubbing a 16-year-old boy with a baseball bat while he was playing basketball. Police claim Madderom intended to rob the boy for allegedly not paying for marijuana he had sold him.

The victim was hospitalized in Marshfield with injuries to his head and stomach.

Madderom is still being held in the Langlade County jail on a $10,000 cash bond.