WKEB Local News Archives for 2018-12

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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