WKEB Local News Archives for 2024-01

Zarins Convicted

Zarins Convicted  Wednesday, January 31, 2024


  A 51-year-old Athens man Matthew Zarins appeared in Taylor County Circuit Court on Wednesday, January 31st for a plea hearing and has been convicted for his role in operating a meth lab that resulted in a woman’s death.


  As part of a plea agreement, Zariins pleaded guilty to homicide by negligent use of a dangerous weapon. Four other charges related to manufacturing meth were dismissed but will be considered during his sentencing hearing on April 18. By agreeing to the terms of the plea agreement, he’ll avoid a jury trial.


  51 year old Jennifer Johnson of Stanley died Jan. 12th, 2023 at a Madison hospital due to the injuries she suffered iin the incident.  Johnson suffered burns to 85% of her body. Zarins was also treated for burns.


  The fire was reported on Jan. 11th, 2023 at a property on Clark Drive in the town of Maplehurst.


  According to the criminal complaint, authorities found many items consistent with manufacturing methamphetamine in and outside the property. During an interview with investigators, Zarins said he was trying to start a fire with wet wood, and they escaped out a window.


  According to court documents, special investigators tested a plastic bottle and hose laying outside on the ground. The hose tested positive for hydrochloric acid which is a necessary ingredient during the manufacturing of methamphetamine gassing process.


  The criminal complaint says in an interview Zarins denied knowing anything or being involved in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.  He admitted to smoking methamphetamine five days prior to when he was asked by authorities. 


  Zarins faces more than 13 years in prison at sentencing.



Suicide in Township of Grover

Suicide in Township of Grover  Friday, January 26, 2024


On Wednesday,  January 24, 2024, at 1:19 p.m. the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting a one vehicle accident at the intersection of Winter Sports Road and Spruce Lake Road in the Town of Grover, Taylor County. The caller stated the vehicle was off the road and there was a large amount of blood in the vehicle. Taylor County Deputies along with EMS and Fire were dispatched.


Upon deputies arrival it was determined the vehicle operator 41-year-old Zachary D. Dunn of Medford Wi was deceased, but his death was not a result of the vehicle accident. Dunn’s death was the result of suicide by a self-inflected gun shot wound.


The investigation found that Dunn was operating the vehicle and was traveling south bound on Winter Sports Road. While south bound on Winter Sports Road, Dunn’s vehicle began to swerve back and forth crossing the center of the roadway several times. The vehicle then entered the east ditch striking trees and causing extensive damage to the vehicle, the air bag was deployed.


After the vehicle came to rest in the ditch, Dunn retrieved a firearm that was in his vehicle and committed suicide by self-inflected gunshot wound. The investigation is ongoing and it is unclear at this point if Dunn intentionally drove off the road or lost control of his vehicle.


Medford Man Charged in September Crash

Medford Man Charged in September Crash  Thursday, January 25


An 18-year-old Medford man now faces five charges stemming from a deadly crash in September. 


Charges were filed Wednesday, January 24th.


Blain J. Lain faces the following charges:

Homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle

Homicide by vehicle - use of a controlled substance 

Knowingly operate a motor vehicle without a valid license - cause great bodily harm

Use of a vehicle w/controlled substance in blood - great bodily harm

Knowingly operate a motor vehicle without a valid license


If convicted, Lain faces more than 50 years in prison and more than $150,000 in fines.


The crash occurred on September 26th of last year at around 3 p.m. on Oriole Drive, north of Taylor County Highway O.


According to the criminal complaint, a witness heard a car coming at what sounded like a high rate of speed. When they turned to look, they saw the vehicle enter the ditch and then go airborne. 

The vehicle left the west side of the roadway at a high rate of speed, overturning multiple times.

The vehicle eventually coming to rest about 573 feet off the roadway, the complaint said.

Taylor County deputies arrived on scene and found that all of the vehicle's occupants has been ejected during the crash.


Lain said he was the driver in a crash that killed Breanne E. Flint and badly injured another man. The two men were transported by ambulance and helicopter for treatment of their injuries.  The complaint said Flint's phone had a dangerous speed notification saying the vehicle was going 112 MPH.  


Authorities learned that Blain Lain, did not have a driver's license.


According to the complaint, on Decemeber 29th of last year, a report was filed by Laboratory of Hygiene after a blood draw on Lain showed a Delta 9-THC blood result. 


Carlson Charged in Bonney's Death

Carlson Charged in Bonney's Death  Wednesday, January 24, 2024


  A 37-year-old man has been charged with first degree intentional homicide after his roommate was found strangled to death at a Taylor County mental health facility in January. 

  Cory Carlson, 37, faces first degree intentional homicide and strangulation and suffocation charges maximum penalty which carries potential life in prison sentence. 

  Carlson address is now listed as Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh. 

  Carlson’s criminal complaint detailed why investigators say he’s responsible for the death of Joseph Bonney.


  On Sunday, January 14th at 1:47 p.m., the Taylor County Sheriff's Office received a call from a staff member at Almost Home Again residential mental health facility on Elder Drive in the town of Aurora for an unconscious and unresponsive man.

    When EMS arrived, the subject was pronounced dead just 20 minutes after the 911 call. The deceased man was 61 year old Joseph B. Bonney. Bonney was dead in his room at the facility. 

    There were clear signs Bonney died from asphyxiation according to the criminal complaint. Bonney's roommate at the facility was Cory Carlson who reported Bonney condition to staff.

   Bonney was found with Twizzlers candy on his nightstand and one on his lips. Staff and detectives thought it odd in a strangulation for one still be on his lips because of the nature of that crime and because Bonney never was seen eating candy. 

   Investigators said the scene appeared to be staged to make it look as if Bonney died in his sleep while eating licorice. There was nothing like candy or anything blocking Bonney's airways but clear signs of strangulation.   Autopsy reports showed no licorice was found in his stomach. 


  Carlson had many issues recently with his mental health, the complaint said. He made statements "that he was having bad thoughts," "hearing voices" and was walking outside in subzero temperatures without shoes or a jacket against staff's wishes. 

  The complaint also said:

  Carlson said he was hearing voices. He couldn’t believe he listened to them, but he did. Carlson said he didn’t remember exactly what he did. 

  Carlson said he was having delusions at the time and didn't know what was going on. 

  Carlson was asked about scratches on his back. Carlson stated he scratches his back in his sleep.


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