Man convicted of killing officer fires attorneys
MILWAUKEE — A man convicted of killing a Milwaukee police officer has fired his attorneys two weeks before his sentencing.
Defense attorney Michael Chernin says Jordan Fricke was adamant he no longer wanted Chernin and Patricia Bradford to represent him. The two have moved to withdraw from the case. A hearing was to be held Thursday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on whether a public defender will take over as Fricke’s counsel.
Fricke was convicted last month for the February shooting death of Matthew Rittner who was serving a no-knock search warrant at Fricke’s home.
He faces a mandatory life term when he’s sentenced Aug. 29. But, Judge Jeffrey Wagner does have discretion on whether Fricke will be eligible for supervised release at some point.
Panel considers ordering bug spray sales at state parks
MADISON — A legislative committee is set to consider a bill that would require the state Department of Natural Resources to sell insect repellent in state parks and forests.
The bill is part of a package of legislation Republican Rep. Jeff Mursau has introduced in an effort to prevent Lyme disease. The Assembly Committee on Environment is set to hold a public hearing on the measure Thursday
According to a DNR fiscal estimate, only five out of 64 state parks and forests offer anything for sale currently. It would cost about $15,000 to create a system to sell repellent at the remaining 59 properties.
DNR officials anticipate spending $20,000 annually on repellent purchases. They expect sales revenue would cover ongoing costs.
Free speech bill reintroduced
MADISON — Republican legislators are re-introducing a bill that would punish students who interfere with campus speeches and presentations with suspension and expulsion.
The state Assembly passed a bill last session that would suspend University of Wisconsin System students twice accused of disrupting others’ free speech. Students who disrupt others’ free expression a third time would be expelled.
The measure died in the Senate but UW regents adopted the sanctions as policy in October.
State Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, and state Rep. Cody Horlacher, R-Mukwonago, re-introduced the bill Tuesday. Passage would cement the sanctions in statute.
Aides for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment on the bill’s prospects on Wednesday. Melissa Baldauff, a spokeswoman for Gov. Tony Evers, also didn’t immediately respond to an email.
Body found in lake identified
MILWAUKEE — Authorities have identified a body found off the Lake Michigan shore in a Milwaukee suburb as a missing 19-year-old swimmer.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said Monday the body was positively identified as Aaron Polnitz of Brookfield.
Polnitz was swimming in Lake Michigan near Warnimont Park beach in Cudahy when he failed to surface on Aug. 5.
His body was spotted on the shoreline by people who were biking Sunday.
Mom faces child neglect charges
MILWAUKEE — A suburban Milwaukee mother is charged with child neglect after her two young children were found alone in a hot car outside a Target store.
Police responded to the Target parking lot in West Allis last Sunday after a woman saw the children in the car with the windows rolled up, observed one of them playing with a shaving razor in the back seat and called police.
A criminal complaint says the temperature at the time was 78 and the car was parked in the sun. Twenty-seven-year-old Allison Andrade, of West Allis, is charged with child neglect, obstructing police and bail jumping.
The complaint says Andrade gave police a false name when she was questioned by officers.
The children, ages 2 and 4, were not seriously injured.
Man sentenced in fatal beating
MADISON — A man convicted in a fatal beating in Dane County has been sentenced to six years in prison for holding the victim down while another defendant repeatedly punched him.
Drew Luber earlier pleaded guilty to felony murder in the October death of 24-year-old Dalton Ziegler in the town of Dane. The beating happened after Ziegler’s girlfriend told Luber and Jacob Johnson that Ziegler had abused her. Instead, she was upset over another woman being in Ziegler’s bedroom.
The State Journal reports Dane County Circuit Judge Susan Crawford acknowledged that Luber was less culpable in Ziegler’s death than Johnson, but she agreed with prosecutors that without Luber holding Ziegler down, it’s likely Ziegler would have been able to defend himself.
Johnson was sentenced last week to seven years in prison.
Police shoot man during pursuit
MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police shot and wounded a suspect on the city’s north side early Wednesday.
Officers were dispatched about 12:30 a.m. to a neighborhood where shots were fired. They spotted a man with an object in his hand. Officers chased the man as he fled on foot.
Assistant Chief Michael Brunson says at some point during the pursuit the man, armed with a gun, turned toward officers who commanded him to drop the weapon. Brunson says the man refused and was shot. The 29-year-old suspect is hospitalized in stable condition.
The 31-year-old officer who shot him is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.