August 23, 2014

Wausau police chief has truck stolen

File photo

File photo

Sometimes, the victim of a crime is a law enforcement officer. This time, the victim was Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel.

39-year-old Jason Warner of Michigan is charged with breaking into Hardel’s Town of Maine home and stealing his pickup truck. Police say Warner also left another vehicle in Hardel’s yard Tuesday.

Warner allegedly took the Chief’s truck to a truck stop, and got a ride with someone from there. He was apprehended later Tuesday afternoon by State Patrol troopers, who found him walking along Interstate 94 in Jackson County.

Warner was reported as missing and endangered by his family. Now, he’s facing fines and nearly 20 years in prison if convicted. Judge Greg Huber set Warner’s bond Thursday at $20,000 cash. He’s also ordered to take his medications, have no burglary tools, and to have no contact with the Hardel family.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday.


Racine tavern owners refile civil rights lawsuit

The Federal Courthouse building in Milwaukee (Photo:

The Federal Courthouse building in Milwaukee (Photo:

Several minorities, who are former bar owners in Racine, have re-filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in Milwaukee. The suit accuses city officials and local Tavern League of violating their civil rights by conspiring to run them out of business.

Based on a ruling weeks ago by a federal judge who dismissed their initial filing, which cited deficiencies and lack of specifics, the new lawsuit sharpens accusations that allege white tavern owners in the city got preferential treatment with the administration of Mayor John Dickert. Specifically stated are bribes to the mayor, and campaign donations the lawsuit alleges were reported as personal loans to his campaign. The bar owners argue it was all part of a plot to drive their businesses out of the city.

The city attorney’s office continues to deny the allegations are true and plans to once again move to dismiss the complaint. Those named in the lawsuit have about three weeks to file a response.


Police search for vandals who killed pheasants

(Photo: WIBA)

(Photo: WIBA)

Investigators in Richland County are working to find who is responsible for the deaths of several pheasants that were being raised as part of a student project at Richland Center High School.

Police say someone broke into sheds behind the school earlier this week, killing 39 of the birds and releasing 70 others. Only about 40 are left from the school project, which had students raising the birds since birth with plans to release them this fall.

There were no surveillance cameras watching the pheasant pen. Anyone with information is asked to call police.


State request to restore Voter ID law delayed

A federal appeals court in Chicago says it will not take up a request to restores Wisconsin’s long-stalled Voter ID requirement until after judges hear oral arguments in the case next month.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had asked the court to reinstate the law, following a state Supreme Court ruling last month that upheld the state’s requirement that voters show a government-issued photo ID at the polls. Van Hollen has argued that the decision should be enough for the court to lift an injunction issued by Federal Judge Lynn Adelman earlier this year, so the law can be in effect for the November 4 general election.
Adelman ruled that Wisconsin’s law violates the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on September 12.

Cousins pleads guilty in death of fellow student Andrew Boldt

Cody Cousins

Cody Cousins

Averting a trial, a Purdue University student has entered a guilty plea to killing a fellow student from Wisconsin. Special public defender Kirk Freeman said 23-year-old Cody Cousins did not seek a plea deal before he was convicted of murder on Wednesday in Tippecanoe County Court.

That leaves the door open to a consideration of Cousins’ mental state when he stabbed and shot 21-year-old Andrew Boldt of West Bend on January 21 in an electrical engineering classroom on Purdue’s main campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.

“Obviously, we hope the evidence will be used in mitigation of the sentence, as well as attaching the designator ‘guilty but mentally ill,’ which will allow my client to seek the help he needs in the Indiana Department of Corrections,” Freeman said

A judge will decide the question of Cousins’ mental state when he’s sentenced on September 19, and Freeman said a motive will also likely be disclosed. “A lot of the questions that you and your listeners have probably been asking for the last eight months will likely be clarified.”

Boldt and Cousins were electrical engineering students at the time of the slaying, with Boldt serving as a teaching assistant.