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WKEB Local News Archives for 2013-12

A central Wisconsin woman accused of trying to asphyxiate four of her six children with vehicle exhaust has been sentenced to 25 years in a mental institution.
Heidi S. Mann initially pleaded insanity to four counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Online court records say the 37-year-old Rib Lake woman changed her pleas Monday to no contest.
The judge then found Mann not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
Mann was accused of putting her four youngest kids in an SUV and letting the engine run in a closed garage for two hours. Prosecutors say she was worried they couldn't handle her divorce.
The children survived. They were 3, 6 and 9 and 12.


(Information in the following story is from: WAOW-TV,

MEDFORD, Wis. (AP) — A 28-year-old Westboro man accused of shooting and wounding a Taylor County deputy sheriff has pleaded not guilty.


Alexander Schneider was charged with attempted first-degree homicide and five other felonies in the September 8th shooting of Deputy Chad Kowalczyk, who was hit once in the abdomen.


Kowalczyk was shot after he went to Schneider's home to investigate a woman's complaint that


Schneider had sent her at least 16 text messages that day, in violation of a restraining order.


Prosecutors say Schneider shot the deputy through the front door with a .22-caliber rifle.

The deputy has been cleared to return to work but the exact date has not been determined.


Schneider has been jailed on $1 million cash bond since his arrest. WAOW-TV reports no trial date was set.


Facing a charge of attempted 1st degree Intentional Homicide for the shooting of the deputy, Schneider was represented by attorney John Vurkees.  Deputy Cory Dassow testified that he responded to assist Deputy Kowalczyk on a case involving Schneider's ex-girlfriend who told officers she was assulted in Rib Lake and Westboro.  She told officers that Schneider "head butted" her and also bit her nose Schneider said if she tried to contact the cops, he would kill her.


Nest to testify was WI D.O.J. Special Agent David Forsythe.  Following the shooting, Agent Forsythe talked with Kowalczyk at the hospital.  He recovered two bullets, one which was removed from Kowalczyk's abdomen and a second bullet on the bed which had been lodged in the deputy's uniform.


Following his arrest, Schneider told Agent Forsythe that he saw the deputy arrive at his Westboro home.  He didn't open the door as the deputy requested becasue he feared he would be arrested for the incident with his ex-girlfriend.  After a brief conversation with the deputy, Schneider went to the bedroom, retrieved a :22 caliber rifle and shot down the hall at the deputy's head.  When he saw the deputy jump off the deck he ran back to the bedroom, opened the window and waited for the deputy to arrive at his car.  He shot three more times as the deputy attempted to get into his squad car.


As the injured Deputy Kowalczyk drove away, Schneider ran to an abandoned house next door and kicked a hole in the wall where he retrieved a sawed off shotgun which he had hid there years before.


Schneider left a message on his ex-girlfriend's phone saying "I shot a cop".


Surgeon Dr. Sweet told Agent Forsythe that Kowalczyk's injuries included a bullet wound to his abdomen and colon.  The bullet missed an artery by one centimeter.  The surgeon indicated that had the artery been severed, the deputy would have bled out in less than three minutes.  The doctor said "he's lucky to be alive".


Kowalczyk also had facial injuries from the shattering door glass, and where the initial bullet grazed his face.


Judge Knox-Bauer ruled she found probable cause and set arraignment for December 20th.


Schneider is being held facing a total of 7 charges in the Lincoln County Jail on a one million dollar cash bond.


   Lights, Camera, Action, a class now offered at the Medford Area Senior High School, is providing a novel way for students to get out the message to their peers on making good life choices.  The class instructor and advisor is Jill Fortin.  Recently, Lights, Camera. Action students Alex Griesbach and Faith Doughty discussed some of their recent projects and explained the goals of the class with K99's Russ Gowey...


Russ Gowey w/Alex Griesbach & Faith Doughty





The Sheldon man whose vehicle struck and killed a hunter Friday night reportedly told Taylor County officers that he had “enough” to drink.  The Taylor County crash report indicates that James Winchel was driving a Buick LeSabre at a high speed as it approached a group of hunters that were by a vehicle at the side of the roadway.  After his vehicle struck Fernando Salinas Jr. and Juan Salinas, a rifle carried by Juan went through the windshield striking Winchel in the face.  Prior to Friday’s crash, Winchel had been convicted of O.W.I. 4 times.


A criminal complaint was filed Monday in Taylor County Court against James L. Winchel of Sheldon.  Taylor County District Attorney Kristi Tlusty charged Winchel with Homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and Operating while intoxicated causing injury-5th offense.


In the first count of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, James L Winchel is charged with cause of death of Juan A Salinas by the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, a class D Felony, and upon conviction he may be fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than twenty-five years, or both.


In the second count, operating while intoxicated causing injury-5th offense, James L Winchel did cause injury to Fernando Salinas Jr. by the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, a class H felony, and upon conviction may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than six years or both.  Also upon conviction the department shall revoke the defendant’s operating privilege for not less than one year not more than two years.  In addition, the defendant will be required to undertake an alcohol and drug abuse assessment, and follow through the treatment recommendations as a condition of reinstatement.


In a statement to officers, Winchel stated that he “was intoxicated” when the crash occurred, and feels so “bad” for what he did.




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