WKEB Local News

Zimmerman Pleads Guilty

Zimmerman Pleads Guilty

 

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- A 27-year-old Unity man has pleaded guilty to killing two people during a plea deal with prosecutors. In exchange for Tyler Zimmerman's guilty pleas, four other counts were dismissed.

The Colby-Abbotsford Police Chief said Cierra Hardrath, 21 and Duane [Hostetler] Lopez Jr., 25, were killed and one person, Megan Dupee, 18 was injured following the shooting Jan. 20, 2018. It happened on the 400 block of East Maple Street in Abbotsford.

Police say they got a call from Dupee about the shooting minutes after 3 a.m. When officers responded, they found the two people dead.

Chief Jason Bauer said the sole suspect, Zimmerman, was found near the crime scene and was taken into custody. Bauer said Zimmerman was Hardrath's live-in boyfriend. He is being held in the Marathon County Jail on $1 million cash bond.

Zimmerman told police he believed Hardrath was cheating on him. According to court documents, Zimmerman said Hardrath told him she was going to watch a movie at a friend's house and she left their home in Owen around 8 p.m.

Zimmerman told police he did not believe her, so he checked her Facebook Messenger and found she was having conversations with other men. He explained he tracked Hardrath's phone using the "Find My Phone" app on her tablet, then drove to the home on the 400 block of East Maple Street in Abbotsford.

According to police, the home belongs to Hardrath's ex-boyfriend, Parker Knautz. Knautz told police Hardrath had come to visit him and his two children. He said she eventually went to sleep in his bed, but he went to his children's room, as they were calling for him, and ultimately fell asleep there.

Once Zimmerman got to the home, Lopez Jr., [Hostetler] a tenant at the home, answered the door. Zimmerman asked for Hardrath, but Lopez Jr. said he did not know her. Eventually he let him in and led him to the bedroom where she was sleeping.

Zimmerman said he talked with Hardrath and referenced cheating, then shot her. Panicked, he said he turned around and shot the person standing in the doorway, Lopez Jr. On his way out, he shot Lopez Jr.'s fiance, Megan Dupee, 18.

Investigators said Zimmerman said he drove to his work to try to tell his boss everything. He left a voicemail on his phone saying he was sorry and he messed up. Zimmerman then wrote a Facebook post saying, "Farewell everyone, I'm sorry for all that I have hurt from this..." During this time, Dupee called 911 and police arrested Zimmerman shortly after near the home.

Police spoke with Zimmerman's boss who told them Zimmerman purchased a handgun a few months ago when Zimmerman and Hardrath seemed to be having issues. He prefaced he did not believe the purchase was unusual at the time.

Investigators asked Zimmerman if he knew he was going to shoot Hardrath when he got to the home. Zimmerman respond, "kind of, in a way."

Zimmerman faces a mandatory life sentence. Only his parole eligibility will be discussed at his March 15 sentencing hearing.

 

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Nitek Sentenced

Nitek Sentenced

 

Rusk County (WQOW) – The man convicted of killing a Rusk County deputy was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday without the possibility of extended supervision.

During the sentencing, Rusk County Sheriff Jeffrey Wallace spoke to the court. He started off by apologizing to Glaze’s family for their loss. He said losing Glaze was like losing one of his own sons.

Wallace then addressed Nitek saying he made a bad decision and now he must accept the consequences for the mistake he made.

“Doug you need to spend everyday for the rest of your life thinking of the pain and suffering you have caused,” Wallace said.

The third person to address the court was Glaze’s widow, Sarah. She said everything in her life has been changed because of Nitek’s action. She said she is no longer able to work full-time because she needs to help her son cope.

“I have put my son to bed 778 times missing his dad,” Glaze said fighting off tears.

“Today I ask Mr. Nitek is finally held responsible for his actions. I ask he is ordered to spend the rest of his days in prison. So, I can go home and tell my kids that his life mattered and he is not able to do this to any other families,” Glaze said.

The prosecution outlined the events of the day Glaze was killed. They said this was something Nitek had planned out.

“The next time law enforcement came on his property, he was going to shoot them,” said Assistant Attorney General Richard Dufour.

“This is not a defense where you can see some reason for what happened,” Dufour said.

The prosecution said Nitek has been given opportunity after opportunity to address his drug and alcohol problems and he has not followed through.

“Locking the defendant up is the only way we can assure the public will be safe,” Dufour said. “We cannot give him another chance to do the same thing again.”

After a 10 minute recess, the defense took over.

The court gave Doug Nitek an opportunity to speak.

Nitek said he was sorry for firing the shots that killed Deputy Dan Glaze.

Public defender Richard Jones said Nitek saw facts different than other people would. He said when Glaze pulled onto his property, in Nitek’s mind it was an intruder and he was firing warning shots. Jones said Nitek was not sure of what was going on around him.

Jones said Nitek’s family has been devastated by what happened.

Jones spent a lot of time detailing Nitek’s methamphetamine addiction. He said the treatment Nitek has gone through in the past was not the correct type of treatment for Nitek’s situation. He said Nitek’s meth addiction was a self medication for mental health issues.

Jones agreed with the prosecution that no parent should have to bury a child, and noted he, himself had to do just that in 1987. Jones went on to say guilt is a great companion of death and said Nitek does have remorse for what he did. He said Nitek got caught up on the wrong side of drug addiction.

Jones said it is easy to argue Nitek should be locked up for the rest of his life, but when they can rehabilitate someone they have made a difference. He said they think they can offer Nitek some help he has not received yet – like psychological treatment and meth treatment.

Judge Scott Needham said his job is a calling he is passionate about and he has always told himself when it becomes easy to sentence someone he is quitting because of the enormity and severity of the responsibility. He said he takes no pleasure or pride in this part of his job.

The judge then said that nothing he says on Wednesday will fill the void or lessen the losses.

Needham said he is a police officer’s son, but said it did not have any impact on his decisions Wednesday. He said Glaze was a man defined by honor and heroism and so this case takes on that consideration.

The judge said he will never forget the squad camera video played during the trial with shot of shots fired and the puff of dust or smoke you can see and the aftermath.

Judge Needham said the Glaze family will never have closure, and with Christmas only six days away he hopes through the eyes of two little children they can focus on the future. He said there is a purpose in moving forward.

The judge finished by saying he needs to protect the public and he has serious doubts of what can be fixed. He said it is not safe in the public when Nitek is part of that public.

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Eau Claire woman charged in fatal Cornell crash enters plea

Eau Claire woman charged in fatal Cornell crash enters plea?

 

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- An Eau Claire woman charged with the deaths of four people after a Chippewa County Crash enters not guilty pleas in court.

Cara Stevens, 24, appeared in court Monday, November 26th after being charged in August.
Stevens is charged with four counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, and four counts of reckless driving-cause great bodily harm.

The crash happened May 2017 in Cornell. According to a criminal complaint, Stevens says she didn't see stop signs in the area before colliding with a truck.

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Plea Deal Likely for Suspect in Marathon County Double Homicide

Plea Deal Likely for Suspect in Marathon County Double Homicide

 

By WSAW Staff |

 

  The 27-year-old Unity man charged with killing two people in January is scheduled to reach a plea deal and will avoid a jury trial.

  Tyler Zimmerman is charged with two counts of first degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted first degree intentional homicide, along with three counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety.

  Online court records shows a plea hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19.

  The Colby-Abbotsford Police Chief said Cierra Hardrath, 21 and Duane [Hostetler] Lopez Jr., 25, were killed and one person, Megan Dupee, 18 was injured following the shooting Jan. 20, 2018. It happened on the 400 block of East Maple Street in Abbotsford.

  Police say they got a call from Dupee about the shooting minutes after 3 a.m. When officers responded, they found the two people dead.

  Chief Jason Bauer said the sole suspect, Zimmerman, was found near the crime scene and was taken into custody. Bauer said Zimmerman was Hardrath's live-in boyfriend. He is being held in the Marathon County Jail on $1 million cash bond.

  Zimmerman told police he believed Hardrath was cheating on him. According to court documents, Zimmerman said Hardrath told him she was going to watch a movie at a friend's house and she left their home in Owen around 8 p.m.

  Zimmerman told police he did not believe her, so he checked her Facebook Messenger and found she was having conversations with other men. He explained he tracked Hardrath's phone using the "Find My Phone" app on her tablet, then drove to the home on the 400 block of East Maple Street in Abbotsford.

  According to police, the home belongs to Hardrath's ex-boyfriend, Parker Knautz. Knautz told police Hardrath had come to visit him and his two children. He said she eventually went to sleep in his bed, but he went to his children's room, as they were calling for him, and ultimately fell asleep there.

  Once Zimmerman got to the home, Lopez Jr., [Hostetler] a tenant at the home, answered the door. Zimmerman asked for Hardrath, but Lopez Jr. said he did not know her. Eventually he let him in and led him to the bedroom where she was sleeping.

  Zimmerman said he talked with Hardrath and referenced cheating, then shot her. Panicked, he said he turned around and shot the person standing in the doorway, Lopez Jr. On his way out, he shot Lopez Jr.'s fiance, Megan Dupee.

  Investigators said Zimmerman said he drove to his work to try to tell his boss everything. He left a voicemail on his phone saying he was sorry and he messed up. Zimmerman then wrote a Facebook post saying, "Farewell everyone, I'm sorry for all that I have hurt from this..." During this time, Dupee called 911 and police arrested Zimmerman shortly after near the home.

  Police spoke with Zimmerman's boss who told them Zimmerman purchased a handgun a few months ago when Zimmerman and Hardrath seemed to be having issues. He prefaced he did not believe the purchase was unusual at the time.

  Investigators asked Zimmerman if he knew he was going to shoot Hardrath when he got to the home. Zimmerman respond, "kind of, in a way."

  Tyler Zimmerman remains in the Marathon County Jail on $1 million cash bond.

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County Board Says Yes And No To Powerline Fund Requests

County Board Says Yes And No To Powerline Fund Requests   10/31/18

 

  The Taylor County Board spent a good deal of time discussing the merits of requests for funding of various projects.  After the talking and multiple votes, the ball diamond projects lost out while other projects prevailed.  Four ballparks asked for funding including Jaycee Field in Medford, Tannery Creek Parkway in Rib Lake, Whittlesey Baseball Association, and the Westboro Ball Club each sought varying amounts originally but were approved for $5,000 each by the county finance committee.  However the full county board was split with 10 supervisors voting yes and 7 voting no.  The requests failed because a 2/3 approval is required in order to receive Powerline Fund requests.

  Other projects fared better with the Western Taylor County Library in Gilman receiving a unanimous approval for $5,000.  The second project approved was the Pine Line resurfacing project receiving $5,000 on a 13 to 4 vote.  Lastly, the Wild Wild Westboro group received unanimous approval for $5,000 to help pay for a new playground.

  A measure to use Powerline Impact funds to help fund loans for replacing failing residential septic systems in the county was tabled.  It was noted that Taylor County has about 6,700 septic systems with an estimated 1/3 of these existing systems in need of replacement.  Prior to committing Powerline Funds to a revolving loan fund to help finance septic systems, the board wanted more definitive directions as to how the program would be administered.  The measure was tabled and the Zoning and Finance departments were directed to begin the process of establishing suggestions for the possible administration of a county revolving loan fund to aid in replacing failing septic systems.

  The Taylor County Powerline Impact Fund currently has a balance of about $565,000.

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Taylor County Opens County Roads to ATV/UTV Use

Taylor County Opens County Roads to ATV/UTV Use  10/31/18

 

  Halloween proved to be a treat for ATV and UTV operators in Taylor County.  After considerable discussion the Taylor County Board approved mirroring state rules and regulations and the opening all County Trunk highways with 3 exceptions.  Chuck Zenner started the discussion by saying that 13, 14 and 15 year old youths shouldn’t be allowed on the RV’s.  Supervisor Thums indicated that would cause confusion with the county having age limits which would vary from townships.  Supervisor Soper expressed his support of the county mirroring state law which calls for youth age 12 through 15 to be mentored by an adult.  It was noted that the city of Medford currently requires operators to be 16 years old. 

  After considerable discussion the board agreed to open the county highway system with 3 exceptions.  The roads which will be closed to RV use will include:  County O from County Q to Highway 13, County M from County Q to Highway 13, and County Q from County M to Highway 64.  A proposal to close County Q from highway 64 to County O failed.  The resolution to allow ATV and UTV use of County Highways passed on a 13 yes and 4 no vote count with supervisors Lewis, Zenner, Adams and Bub voting no.  The state highways will not be open for RV use.  Once marker signs are put up by the highway crew, the new law which mirrors state regulations will take effect.   

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Stevens Charged in Kummer Crash

Stevens Charged in Kummer Crash  10/10/18

 

 An Eau Claire woman, charged in connection to a crash that killed four people in Chippewa County, appeared in court Tuesday, October 9th.

 

  A judge issued 24-year-old Cara Stevens a $10,000 signature bond.

 

  Stevens was charged with eight counts, including four for homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle.   

  The charges are tied to a May 27, 2017 crash just east of Cornell, at the intersection of Highway 64 and County Road G.

 

  A complaint filed said Stevens was driving a car heading north on G and told investigators she didn't remember seeing any stop signs in the area. Stevens said she was going about 60 miles an hour when she collided with a truck heading westbound on 64.

 

  Investigators say skid marks tied to Stevens' car were visible on G, but after entering the intersection with Highway 64.

 

  Stevens’ vehicle collided with a truck heading westbound on 64. She was the only person in her vehicle to survive, as Mikaila Toske, Raven Ellin, and Jonathan Jorgensen – all from of Eau Claire – were killed.

Kristine Kummer of Medford was the lone person in the truck killed, as four others were injured.

 

  The complaint states driver impairment was not a factor in the crash.

 

  The complaint also states: "While the exact reasons for Ms. Stevens' inattention are not known, it is likely her attention was not focused on the approaching intersection and stop sign."

 

  Cara Stevens next court hearing is scheduled for November.

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