- Associated Press - Monday, May 5, 2014
Man pleads not guilty in marijuana cookie case

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) - A 21-year-old Stevens Point man has pleaded not guilty to providing marijuana-laced cookies to his co-workers.

Darren Blair is charged with recklessly endangering safety, placing foreign objects in edibles and delivering THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

According to the complaint, the alleged victim said she was working at a Plover restaurant and ate two cookies from the breakroom. The woman said she began feeling like she was going to faint.

The woman said later a co-worker, identified as Blair, began asking if everyone wanted “pot cookies.”

Blair was arrested during a traffic stop in March. Court records say inside his vehicle he had a bag of chocolate chip cookies and a container with cookie dough. Both smelled like marijuana.

WSAW-TV (https://bit.ly/1kEXyWShttps://bit.ly/1kEXyWS ) reports Blair is due back in court June 2.

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Suspect, victims in Madison stabbings identified

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Madison man who broke into his neighbors’ apartment and killed a mother and daughter before police fatally shot him had been convicted of disorderly conduct in the past, court records show.

More details in the case were released Monday, including the names of the victims and suspect. The Dane County coroner identified the suspect as Londrell Emone Johnson and the victims as 57-year-old Robin Rae Grossmann and her daughter, Charity Rae Grossmann, 34.

Online court records indicate that Johnson, 33, had been convicted of multiple counts of disorderly conduct. He pleaded guilty to the charge most recently in 2013 and again in 2008, and pleaded no contest to it in 2010 and twice in 2000. He also had convictions for intent to contribute to the delinquency of a child.

Police have said he had suffered from mental illness and threatened neighbors in the past.

On Friday, Johnson forced his way into the apartment where Robin Rae Grossmann lived with her 20-year-old son, police said. He fatally stabbed Grossmann and her daughter and wounded the son, they said. The son’s name has not been released.

One or more Madison police officers shot Johnson, who was wielding a knife when officers arrived at “a very fluid and active scene,” police spokesman Joel DeSpain said. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

The two women died after being attacked. The 20-year-old man who was wounded suffered multiple stab wounds but was able to escape and is expected to survive, police said. He was able to run for help “indicating a neighbor was stabbing his family,” according to a police report.

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Emails show UW regents’ concerns over hire

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The University of Wisconsin System’s decision to hire a confidant of Gov. Scott Walker to a newly created, high-paying job raised concerns among at least two members of the Board of Regents, according to emails obtained by The Associated Press under the state’s open records law.

Jim Villa was hired on April 2 as UW’s vice president for university relations, a job that pays $178,000 a year to oversee the university system’s lobbying and public relations efforts. Villa, who started the job Monday, worked on Walker’s 2002 campaign for Milwaukee County executive and later became his chief of staff at the county and an informal adviser during his first run for governor.

Villa listed Walker, former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and powerful lobbyist and former Thompson administration official Bill McCoshen as his references when applying for the UW job.

Records obtained by AP show that there were some concerns about hiring the politically connected Villa for the new position. He was chosen by UW President Ray Cross over four other finalists.

Tony Evers, state superintendent and also a member of the Board of Regents, emailed fellow regent John Drew two days after the appointment was announced, saying he was reading “scary” information online about Villa.

“I too have concerns,” Drew wrote back. Drew said he later spoke with a third regent, Chuck Pruitt, and tried to assure Evers about the hiring of Villa.

“Talked to Chuck,” Drew said in an email to Evers. “He says he does not consider Villa an idealogue.”

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Retrial opens for man in pregnant woman’s killing

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (AP) - A retrial began Monday for an Illinois man charged with killing a 21-year-old woman and her fetus at a resort in Wisconsin’s Door County.

Brian Cooper, 37, of Plainfield, Illinois, faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the strangulation of 21-year-old Alisha Bromfield and death of her fetus in August 2012. A mistrial was declared when Cooper’s first trial ended in a hung jury last year.

In opening statements Monday, prosecutor Raymond Pelrine told jurors that Cooper was in love with Bromfield and that, “If he couldn’t have her, no one could.”

Cooper was Bromfield’s boss and had known her since she was about 15 years old, Pelrine said. He told jurors that the defendant killed then sexually assaulted Bromfield and noted that Cooper had hidden spy cameras in his Plainfield home and in the bathroom of the room they shared at the resort.

“Two lives literally were snuffed out by the defendant,” Pelrine said.

Defense attorney John Birdsall countered that although Cooper was not the baby’s father, the two did have a romantic relationship at one time, the Door County Advocate reported (https://bit.ly/1kFUfA3https://bit.ly/1kFUfA3 ).

“Even the time when they weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, they were very close friends,” Birdsall told jurors.

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