- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015
At trial of man with ALS, expert says disease nonviolent

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A prosecution expert in the trial of a former Wisconsin sheriff’s deputy with Lou Gehrig’s disease who killed two people testified he has never seen a patient with the disease act violently.

Andrew Steele, 40, has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease in the August shooting deaths of his wife Ashlee Steele, 39, and her sister, Kacee Tollefsbol, 38, of Lake Elmo, Minnesota, at the Steele home in Fitchburg.

Dr. Paul Barkhaus, director of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, program at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, also testified Friday that he saw nothing in Steele’s medical records that would have warranted a referral to a neuropsychologist, according to the Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/1Q1IcOShttps://bit.ly/1Q1IcOS ).

A defense expert, Dr. Doug Tucker, testified on Wednesday that Steele has a mental disease, namely major neurocognitive disorder due to ALS, which has affected his ability to regulate his behavior and caused him to lack the ability to conform his conduct to the law.

Barkhaus said he was not able to reach conclusions about all of the defense expert’s contentions because he is not a neuropsychologist. But he said the fact that Steele was able to drive a car in traffic and that friends and family did not notice changes in his behavior suggests no deficits in his executive functioning, which governs such things as reasoning and problem solving.

Barkhaus also said that if someone had a neurocognitive disorder that caused him to become violent, he would expect to see more than one instance of it. Nobody has testified ever seeing Steele act violently on any other occasion.

Prosecutors believe that Steele planned the murders, but they have not discussed a motive. Steele claims he does not to remember what happened.


Bond set for Idaho men accused in stabbing in Tomah motel

SPARTA, Wis. (AP) - Bond has been set for two Idaho men accused in the killing of a 43-year-old man in western Wisconsin.

The La Crosse Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/1OUYh7Fhttps://bit.ly/1OUYh7F ) Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Todd Ziegler set cash bail at $1 million for 26-year-old Zachary Nathan Davis and $750,000 for 20-year-old Sebastian Martinez on Friday.

Davis is accused of stabbing Derek Magnuson multiple times as Martinez looked on in a Tomah motel room in March. They are also accused of taking Magnuson’s wallet, and using his cash and debit cards.

Davis and Martinez were arrested 17 days later in Tennessee and were extradited to Wisconsin on Thursday. Tennessee authorities dropped theft charges against the pair, which hastened the extradition process.

District Attorney Kevin Chroninger described both defendants as flight risks. The judge agreed.


Information from: La Crosse Tribune, https://www.lacrossetribune.comhttps://www.lacrossetribune.com


Wisconsin deputy killed in 1920 to be added to memorial

RACINE, Wis. (AP) - The name of a Racine County sheriff’s deputy is being added to the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. - 95 years after his death.

According to the Racine County sheriff’s department, 34-year-old Deputy Arthur Herman was struck by a street car while on a motorcycle attempting to apprehend an escaped prisoner on May 15, 1920.

He was unmarried and left behind no children. He had only been with the department for a few months.

The Journal Times reports (https://bit.ly/1DTY80shttps://bit.ly/1DTY80s ) Racine County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy John Hanrahan came upon Herman’s name in January 2014 on a website of officers killed in the line of duty. Sgt. Cary Madrigal and another deputy did further research and verified the story. Racine County added him to the County Memorial last year during our annual ceremony.

Now, he’s one of three Wisconsin officers whose names will be added to the national memorial next month.

Two of Herman’s great nephews are considering going to the ceremony, after being tracked down by the department and told the news.

“To have a relative noted there, honored there, is something we can tell our kids about,” said Herman’s great nephew Mark Shekore, 73, of Aberdeen, South Dakota. “I think just hearing the brief stories I did about Arthur left this lasting impression with me.”


Wisconsin officials warn of good wildfire conditions

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - State officials say there is an extremely good chance of wildfires in central Wisconsin.

The National Weather Service and the Department of Natural Resources has issued a Red Flag Warning for Saturday for Wood, Adams, Juneau, Monroe and Jackson counties through 7 p.m.

Officials say warm temperatures, low humidity and high winds are anticipated and can cause fires.

The DNR is prohibiting all burning and is asking the public to be especially careful with activities that could lead to a fire.

The DNR says similar conditions are throughout much the state and many areas have a very high threat of wildfires.

The weather forecast has some precipitation expected Saturday night and officials hopes it improves the fire threat.

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