"Looking for a handgun that is $300 or best offer. Looking to buy ASAP. Prefer full size. Prefer 45 or 40 caliber. I constantly check emails. Also I'm hoping to has a high mag capacity. I'm a serious buyer so please email me ASAP. Have cash now and looking to buy now."
- Radcliffe Haughton's internet posting. Haughton is the man who shot and killed three women at a Brookfield, WI salon. He would not have passed a background check had one been required.
Since 2000, at least 50 Wisconsinites have been killed in domestic violence homicides when the perpetrator was legally prohibited from possessing the firearm. The ease with which Radcliffe Haughton purchased the gun that killed three women demonstrates the absurdity of the humungous loopholes in our gun safety laws. On Thursday, October 18, 2012, Zina Haughton, Radcliffe's wife, obtained a domestic abuse restraining order against her husband after years of violence and abuse. Radcliffe was ordered to not possess firearms. Knowing he could not pass a background check, Radcliffe sought a gun on the internet on Saturday October 20, presumably with the intent of killing Zina. He arranged for a private sale--no background check required. On Sunday, October 21, a day seared into the minds of many, Radcliffe went on a shooting spree at the salon where Zina worked, killing her, Cary Robuck and Maelyn Lind and injuring four others. After many tense moments searching, Haughton was found dead by his own gun.
Terrifying incidents like the Brookfield shooting are occurring around the country and Wisconsin, seemingly with greater frequency. Each time, people ask, "What could we have done?" Obviously universal background checks will not prevent every fatal shooting, but we know they will prevent some. That a known offender like Haughton could obtain a firearm with such ease is an indictment of the status quo.
Not every domestic violence homicide gains as much attention as the Brookfield shooting, but every year, multiple people are shot by abusers with illegal guns in Wisconsin. Since 2000, 50 victim's lives have been taken this way. Would background checks have prevented all of the tragedies? No. But undoubtedly, background checks would have made a difference in some of the cases. We hope that these 50 stories will spark change for a more peaceful future--50 for the Future.
39 years old
April 8, 2013
Daniel Billings killed himself shortly after shooting and killing his girlfriend, Annemarie Bautch, outside her home. Billings had a long criminal history, including a felony conviction related to illegal gun possession and was banned from possessing the murder weapon.
22 years old
November 5, 2012
Carl Avery is charged with the shooting death of his estranged girlfriend, Zoey Krueger. Zoey and Avery were believed to be together at a motel in Jefferson. Zoey was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the head in the motel room after Avery called the police saying Zoey had been shot. Several guns were found in the car Avery was driving. It is believed Avery killed Zoey as she was trying to get away from him. Avery had an active restraining order against him from another relationship and therefore was legally prohibited from possessing firearms.
Zina Daniel: 42 years old
Maelyn Lind: 38 years old
Cary Robuck: 35 years old
October 21, 2012
On Thursday, October 18, 2012, Zina Daniel, Radcliffe Haughton's wife, obtained a domestic abuse restraining order against her husband after years of violence and abuse. Radcliffe was ordered to not possess firearms. Knowing he could not pass a background check, Radcliffe sought a gun on the internet on Saturday October 20, presumably with the intent of killing Zina. He arranged for a private sale--no background check required. On Sunday, October 21, Radcliffe went on a shooting spree at the salon where Zina worked, killing her, Cary Robuck and Maelyn Lind and injuring four others. After many tense moments searching, Haughton was found dead by his own gun.
20 years old
October 13, 2012
Richi Vue, 21, is accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend, Lee Xiong, in October 2012. Vue was previously convicted of a felony and should not have had the murder weapon.
July 10, 2011
Derek Robert Farrow shot and killed a Ashantia Lindsey, a friend of his ex-girlfriend, after an allegation was publicized on Facebook claiming that Farrow had molested the girlfriend's infant. The Facebook post sent people to look for Farrow at his mother's house.
Farrow later confessed to his uncle that he had gone to his ex-girlfriend's house, located at Madison and 13th St. He broke down the door and saw three men running around. He shot at them before running off. Later, officers found Lindsey dead in the stairway of the apartment building. It was determined that he had been shot four times.
Farrow confessed to his uncle about 12 to 16 hours after the homicide. His uncle's daughter agreed to drive Farrow to Missouri for $180 because she needed the money. Farrow was dropped on at a cousin's house in Jefferson City where he was later arrested and returned to Wisconsin after Milwaukee police informed Jefferson City police that he was most likely staying with family members.
23 years old
November 16, 2010
Grace Krejci was shot by her estranged husband, Matthew Krejci, 27, who then committed suicide. The shootings occurred in the home of Grace Krejci’s sister, where she had been living since separating from her husband. Their three-yearold daughter was in the home at the. The deaths were discovered by Grace Krejci’s father, who had come to the home because the couple’s five-year-old son had not been picked up from school. Grace Krejci had filed for divorce in July, and the final hearing was scheduled for December 2.
At the time of the homicide, Matthew Krejci was subject to a harassment restraining orderissued in September 2009 that prohibited contact with Grace Krejci. He was also under a no-contact order with a firearm prohibition as a condition of probation after being convicted of violating the harassment order. He had repeatedly called and sent text messages to her in violation of the order. Matthew Krejci had made a prior suicide attempt while caring for his daughter, and he was charged with child neglect. A jury trial was pending in that case at the time of the homicide.
39 years old
February 2, 2010
Joseph D. McGowan was shot by his cousin, Brian A. Patterson, 33. At the time of the homicide, Brian Patterson was under a domestic abuse restraining order with a firearms prohibition, obtained by a woman in 2006 that was due to expire later in the month. A jury found Brian Patterson guilty of first-degree reckless homicide, and he was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison and ten years extended supervision.
52 years old
October 15, 2009
Alice M. Gill was shot to death by her former husband, Jeffrey S. Gill, 50, who then killed himself. Alice Gill was killed while in the driveway of her home and in the presence of her adult son, who had tried to help her. She tried to flee the attack, but Jeffrey Gill chased her and shot her several times before taking his own life. He also threw a pipe bomb into her vehicle, which detonated during the shooting. Jeffery was prohibited from owning a gun because of a felony conviction.
25 years old
2 years old
December 3, 2009
Tyrone M. Adair, 38, strangled his current girlfriend, Tracy Judd, and suffocated their daughter, Deja Renee. He also shot and killed Amber Weigel, a woman with whom he had been in a prior dating relationship, and their daughter, Neveah. Tyrone Adair remained at large for four days until his body was found in one of the victim’s cars. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot. At the time of the homicides he was subject to a restraining order obtained in 2006 by another woman. In 1995 and 2000, two other women initially sought restraining orders, but did not obtain them. In 2000 he pled no-contest to a charge of battery involving one of the women. Although prohibited by the restraining order and the battery conviction from possessing firearms, he purchased one via a private sale.
47 years old
May 16, 2009
Francie Weber was shot to death at her home by her former husband, Steven J. Weber, 49, five days after their divorce was finalized. The homicide occurred in the parking lot of her apartment building. Steven Weber remained at large for three days after the homicide and was the subject of an extensive search by authorities. His body was found in the city park where he had shot and killed himself. A criminal no-contact order was in place at the time of the homicide in conjunction with pending charges of strangulation and suffocation, child abuse, disarming a peace officer, and other charges related to assaults on Francesca and one of her daughters. As a convicted felon, Steven Weber could not legally own or possess guns.
28 years old
May 13, 2009
Melvin R. House, 44, was found guilty of homicide by negligent handling of a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the death of his wife, Myesha Haynes. A jury trial is scheduled for December 6, 2010. Myesha Haynes’ body was found in Lake Michigan, with four gunshot wounds to her chest. At the time of the homicide, Myesha Haynes had moved in with friends, telling them that she wanted a divorce because her husband had repeatedly beaten her and threatened her with a gun. In May 2008, she sought a restraining order that was not granted. In 2004, Melvin House was charged with battery against her, and the charge was dismissed on the defendant’s motion.
25 years old
April 22, 2009
Shot to death by her former boyfriend, Kyle E. Hicke, 37. He pled guilty to first-degree intentional homicide (related charges were read in) and was sentenced to life in prison, with eligibility for extended supervision in 2052. Kyle Hicke shot Erica Ostensen repeatedly while she was in front of her home and in the presence of her five-year-old son. He fled the scene of the homicide and was apprehended after a high-speed chase. Between 1995 and 2010 he was arrested and convicted of domestic-abuse-related charges on five occasions. Because of the convictions he was prohibited from owning a gun.
39 years old
April 17, 2009
Kelly Wing Schmidt was shot to death by her estranged husband, Scott E. Schmidt, 38, who also wounded her mother. He was found guilty by a jury of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree recklessly endangering safety. He was sentenced to life in prison for the homicide, with parole eligibility in 2050, and a lesser and concurrent sentence on the second charge. Scott Schmidt had a history of domestic-abuse-related disorderly conduct charges and was the respondent in a harassment restraining order obtained by another woman he had dated. The couple had separated approximately one month prior to the homicide.
39 years old
February 17, 2009
Edward Burgess shot his cousin, Tommy Momon, in Momon's home after an ongoing family dispute. Burgess was previously convicted of a felony.
18 years old
September 20, 2008
St. Croix County
Kelly Dahm was shot to death by her former boyfriend, Christopher Ledesma, in his car while it was in a public parking lot. A bystander heard multiple “popping” noises and saw Ledesma standing next to the car, but left without calling the police. Ledesma’s in-laws subsequently drove by the car containing Kelly Dahm’s body; they did not call the police. Ledesma pled no contest to a reduced charge of second degree intentional homicide. He was was found guilty and sentenced to thirty-fiveyears in prison and twenty-five years of extended supervision. Ledesma was previously convicted of a felony.
58 years old
September 1, 2008
Charlotte was shot to death by her daughter’s estranged boyfriend, James J. Lahoud. Charlotte’s daughter survived a severe wound to her face. Lahoud had been subject to domestic violence-related criminal charges and/or restraining orders in three different counties. There was an active restraining order at the time of the homicide. Lahoud pled guilty to one count of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted homicide. He entered an Alford Plea to one count of first degree sexual assault with use of a dangerous weapon and was found guilty.
40 years old
July 26, 2008
Joseph W. Evans, Jr., Dina’s estranged husband, was convicted of first degree intentional homicide in her death. Dina Evans died after a single gunshot wound to the chest. She was killed the same day that Joseph Evans was served a temporary restraining order that she had applied for ten days prior to her death. Jospeh had a prior felony conviction.
22 years old
May 18, 2008
David Brown, 26, was covicted of first degree reckless homicide and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the shooting death of Carl Coleman. Coleman is the brother of Brown’s former girlfriend. Coleman was shot when he accompanied his sister to pick up the son she had in common with Brown.
22 years old
April 6, 2008
Randy Gordon was shot once in the shoulder by Milton Deshawn Robinson, 24, as he ran toward his girlfriend, Robinson’s sister. Gordon and Robinson’s sister were known to have an ongoing abusive relationship. Robinson had come at his sister’s request to pick her up at a restaurant after she had become concerned about Gordon’s behavior and wanted to leave. Gordon followed them from the restaurant. Robinson pled guilty to an amended charge of second-degree reckless homicide and was sentenced to seven years in prison and five years of extended supervision. He had previously been convicted of a felony.
29 years old
September 8, 2007
Dekeyecha Harriott was shot by her boyfriend, William Demajor Rogers, Jr., 30, who had previously been convicted of a felony. He pled guilty to ﬁrst degree intentional homicide and related charges and was sentenced to ﬁfty years in prison.
22 years old
March 23, 2006
Trisha Bergemann was shot by her boyfriend, James Butler, 22. Butler left the scene in a car driven by his younger brother’s girlfriend and killed himself as police attempted to pull over the vehicle. Butler was previously convicted of a felony.
22 years old
January 14, 2006
Shot multiple times by her boyfriend, Vincent Cosey, 26. Cosey had previously been convicted of a felony. A jury convicted him of ﬁrst-degree intentional homicide and related charges. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
21 years old
November 12, 2005
Christine Rudy was shot to death and dismembered by her husband of three months, Shaun Rudy, 23. Christine was six months pregnant at the time, and her unborn son, whom she had named Christopher, also died. Two days after killing her he reported her missing.
Immediately prior to the homicide, Christine was in a car with Shaun and an 18-year-old woman described as Shaun’s girlfriend. According to Shaun and the second woman, all three had been using methamphetamine. Shaun ordered Christine out of the car and drove away, then returned to where she was standing. He said, “Wife… ‘til death do us part,” and shot Christine in the head, using a 12-gauge shotgun stolen two days earlier when the three of them burglarized a house in Iowa. Shaun threatened his girlfriend that he would kill her too if she told anyone what he had done. Together they drove to Shaun’s mother’s home, where Shaun dismembered Christine’s body. A day or two later they dropped her remains into the Chippewa River, where they were discovered in March 2006 on the basis of information from Shaun’s girlfriend. Two days before the murder, Shaun left Christine on the side of a road in southern Wisconsin. After walking through the night for seven to twelve miles, Christine reached a church in Fennimore, Wisconsin, where she waited until Shaun picked her up that afternoon. Shaun told a cellmate that he and his girlfriend had thought of many ways to kill Christine so that they could be alone. Before he was sentenced, he told pre-sentence investigators that he would not change anything and that he felt he did the right thing by killing Christine so that she would not give birth to a child that would possibly be disabled because of her methamphetamine use.
As part of a plea bargain and her cooperation with investigators, charges against Shaun’s girlfriend of Aiding a Felon and Falsifying Information as a Party to a Crime were deferred. She pled guilty to Resisting or Obstructing an Officer and was sentenced to 271 days in jail. Shaun Rudy pled no contest to the charges of First-Degree Intentional Homicide, First-Degree Intentional Homicide of an Unborn Child, and Mutilating a Corpse. He was sentenced to two life sentences without parole for the homicide charges and thirteen years and six months in prison and five years of extended supervision for the mutilation charge.
29 years old
October 5, 2005
Jaime Lowery was shot to death while she slept by her boyfriend, Thaddius A. Johnson, 37. He shot her once in the head at point-blank range with a rifle he had purchased thirty-six hours before the shooting. The couple’s three young children were at home and apparently asleep at the time of their mother’s murder. Thaddius woke the children, drove them to his sister’s home in Milwaukee, and then turned himself in to police.
Neighbors reported seeing police at Jaime and Thaddius’s home on a regular basis, including the weekend prior to the homicide. Police said that no arrests had been made and that the calls involved custody-related issues. Neighbors also reported incidents where Thaddius would chase Jaime out of their home and she would run back in and lock the door. Three days before she was killed, Jaime told police that she was afraid to go home and that her life was in danger. In 2003 Thaddius was convicted of misdemeanor battery after punching and grabbing Jaime and ordered to pay a civil forfeiture on another charge of domestic abuse related disorderly conduct. Family and friends described how Thaddius controlled Jaime’s movements, including driving her to work and limiting her contact with them. Jaime had told others that she was trying to end her relationship with Thaddius and wanted him out of the home. Thaddius told her that if she left him he would kill her and Jaime feared he would hurt her friends and family.
Thaddius Johnson pled no contest to a charge of First-Degree Intentional Homicide and was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole and extended supervision after twenty-six years.
63 years old
February 5, 2005
George Ness bled to death after his wife, Diane Ness, 49, shot him once in the leg with a .22 magnum pistol.
Diane told investigators that she and George had been drinking heavily for almost two days and arguing. She decided to move out and began packing. She told investigators that she did not remember getting the gun or pulling the trigger, but after she shot George he said, “you shot me.” Investigators concluded that George was probably asleep or passed out when he was shot because he did not move or make an attempt to stop the bleeding. Police were notified after Diane called her sister, who lived next door, and told her that she had shot George. Investigators determined that enough time passed between the shooting and when Diane called for help for the blood to coagulate and dry, and there were signs that alcohol cans and bottles had been removed. They found Diane outside next to the house, sitting in a fetal position.
One of George’s adult sons told police, “I knew this would happen,” referring to times in the past when Diane had threatened to kill his father, but would then say she was kidding. George’s 15-year-old grandson told investigators that Diane was mean and aggressive toward his grandfather when she was drunk. Diane had called her daughter the afternoon of the homicide to report that there were problems and that she and George were fighting. Diane Ness pled no contest to a charge of Homicide by Intoxicated Use of a Firearm, amended from First-Degree Intentional Homicide. She was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and ten years of extended supervision. She also pled no contest to a charge of Felony Possession of a Firearm (stemming from a previous conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated) and was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of extended supervision, to run consecutive with the sentence on the homicide charge.
November 5, 2004
Sandra Wisniewski was shot to death by her boyfriend, Gregg Phillips, 25, in the hotel room they were temporarily living in. As she attempted to leave the hotel, he grabbed her, pushed her to the ground and shot her. Gregg then went out into the hallway and fatally shot Anton Uebelhoer, a hotel guest and the first person he encountered. Gregg shot Anton seven times and shot and wounded two other hotel guests. He held another man hostage as he telephoned several people, including his mother. Gregg finally surrendered to a SWAT team after a 30-minute standoff. He was wearing body armor and using an automatic assault rifle throughout the attacks.
Sandra and Gregg were in a relationship for over four years and lived together. According to Sandra’s friends and family, he was physically and verbally abusive toward her. They were staying at a hotel at the time of the murder because Gregg was trying to avoid some men over a money issue. On the evening of the homicide, Gregg was confronted by the men he was hiding from. Following this confrontation, Gregg accused Sandra of setting him up and telling the men where to find him. Sometime after midnight Sandra called a friend very upset and told her that Gregg thought she was lying and that he was threatening her. Her friend tried to calm Gregg down over the phone but he hung up on her. At 2 a.m. Sandra called her sister and said, “I need to be picked up now”. Sandra told Gregg she was leaving and packed a bag of clothes. He shot her as she tried to leave. By the time her sister and cousin were able to get to the hotel it was surrounded by police and Sandra was already dead.
Gregg Phillips was found guilty by a jury of two counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide, Attempted First Degree Intentional Homicide, First Degree Reckless Injury, Taking a Hostage, Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Gregg was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences with 85 years in prison to run concurrent with the life sentences.
50 years old
22 years old
November 2, 2004
Jennifer Hitchcock and John Romberg were shot by Maurice Mason, 37, and Bennie Firer, 24, in murders that were part of a nine-day kidnapping crime spree. Maurice was the ex-boyfriend of Jennifer and Bennie was Maurice’s nephew.
Maurice was a habitual criminal and spent a number of years in jail before he met Jennifer. In 1994, Maurice burglarized his sister’s home and took a 17 year old girl out of state. He was caught and convicted of Burglary and sentenced to nine years in prison. He was released in 2000 after serving six years, sent back in 2001 for violating the terms of his release and then re-released in 2002. He was not on supervised release.
Maurice Mason pled no contest to First Degree Intentional Homicide, Kidnapping, Possession of a Weapon and Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Charges of Second Degree Sexual Assault were dropped as part of his plea bargain. He was sentenced to life in prison. Bennie Frier pled no contest to First Degree Reckless Homicide and Second Degree Sexual Assault and was sentenced to 60 years in prison for his role in the crimes against Jennifer. Maurice was charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide for John Romberg’s murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
32 years old
March 6, 2004
Bridgette L. Crawford was fatally shot by her boyfriend, Davon Terrell Smith, 26, during a fight at a party. He shot her four times in the hallway of the apartment building where the party was occurring.
Bridgette and Davon were having an argument while he was on the balcony and she was downstairs in the courtyard. She headed upstairs with a knife to confront him, and friends tried to stop her. While she was going upstairs, Davon borrowed a gun from his cousin. As she kicked the door open, she held her knife at shoulder level. Eyewitnesses disagree as to whether she approached him swinging the knife and then he shot her or if he was waiting for her to enter the room and shot her immediately. After he shot her, Davon ran out, stepping over her body. Bridgette and Davon had been dating off and on for less than a year. They argued and fought a lot. In addition, Davon had a history of violence to others including a Battery and Criminal Damage to Property charge in a domestic incident involving a woman that he had recently dated. This charge required that he have no contact with her. Davon’s violence toward this woman included threats to kill her and her children. Davon Terrell Smith was charged with Second Degree Intentional Homicide and Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.
He was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to a total of 19 years in prison and 14 years extended supervision. At the same time, he was convicted of the Criminal Damage to Property charge from the recent incident against another woman. Bridgette is survived by six children.
25 years old
July 5, 2003
Nicole J. Odegaard was shot multiple times in the head by her husband, Jay Odegaard, 44, in the bedroom of their home. He then turned the gun on himself. Their bodies were found by Nicole's 8 and 10-year-old children and their 9-year-old friend who was sleeping over at the house that night.
According to co-workers of Nicole, on the night of the homicide, Jay and the kids had pizza at the tavern where Nicole was working. Jay left with the children at 11:00 p.m. and returned by himself about 45 minutes later. He argued with Nicole about when she would get off of work. She was overheard to say that “she didn’t love him and was tired of being beaten.” Co-workers reported seeing bruises on Nicole in the past.
Jay Odegaard had a history of previous convictions for disorderly conduct, felony battery and false imprisonment.
15 & 18 years old
June 23, 2003
Lloyd and Michael Gentry were shot to death by their stepfather, Roger O’Neal, 42. He shot each of them once, killing them instantly.
Roger had been married to Lloyd and Michael’s mother for fourteen years. At the time of the murders, she was in Chicago to be with her family dealing with the imminent death of her sister from cancer. While she was in Chicago, Roger repeatedly called his wife demanding that she return home. She declined and waited with her siblings as her sister died. She then told him when she would return home. Roger killed her two sons before she arrived.
Lloyd was upstairs taking a shower when his stepfather entered the bathroom and shot him once in the head. Roger came down the stairs, passing his own son in the stairwell, and headed outside where Roger’s three stepsons and cousin waited for Lloyd. He pointed the rifle at his 21-year-old stepson and pulled the trigger but was unable to fire the rifle. He then reloaded the chamber and shot Michael in the neck. The others began to run away from the house as Roger fired one more shot, missing them.
He retreated into his home where a 13 hour standoff ensued. More than 50 officers, including a SWAT team, surrounded the house and sent two volleys of tear gas into the house, forcing Roger to surrender.
Roger was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and depression in 2001. Roger has a prior criminal record including one charge of battery to his wife in 1990 and disorderly conduct against his 20-year-old stepson in 2002. At the trial, his wife testified that about four months before the shooting she and Roger had discussed divorce and Roger had moved into his own bedroom, agreeing to leave by June or July.
The jury rejected Roger’s insanity plea and found him guilty of two counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide and one count of First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety. The prosecutor speculated that the jury believed Roger acted out of revenge towards his wife because she wanted a divorce. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences with five additional consecutive years followed by two years of extended supervision.
42 years old
December 24, 2002
Minnie was fatally shot in the head by her former boyfriend, William O. Sangster, 56, in a hotel room where he had asked her to meet him on Christmas Eve. Sangster was a convicted felon. He was also serving probation for a conviction of possession of a firearm by a felon at the time of murder. Additionally, he had a felony conviction for battery to police during a domestic violence incident.
25 years old
November 20, 2002
Angelina was shot to death by her boyfriend, Albert Satcher, 27, as she was attempting to get away from him during an argument. The perpetrator had a restraining order issued against him in July 1999. He also had a prior conviction for domestic violence.
37 years old
October 1, 2002
Frederic Titter was shot and killed by Raymond Pyle at Frederic's workplace. Raymond was upset that Frederic was dating his ex-girlfriend. Raymond had a restraining order issued against him in July 1999. He also had a 2001 charge for operating a firearm while intoxicated and was on probation at the time of the killing.
39 years old
August 16, 2002
Kim Staffin was shot seven times by her boyfriend of 5 years, Dennis George. Dennis had a long history of domestic abuse, and as domestic violence misdemeanant, Dennis was prohibited from possessing firearms.
51 years old
July 16, 2002
Maureen Jefferson was shot at close range by her ex-husband, Kenneth Jefferson, 51, who then shot himself. Kenneth had broken into her home while Maureen was at work. Maureen had a restraining order against Kenneth, and there were pending criminal charges based on extensive threats to Maureen's life.
39 years old
June 6, 2002
Town of Doty
As part of a triple homicide, Gail Meidam was shot at least three times by Michael Wilcox, 49. Michael had dated Gail about one month before the murder. At the time of the relationship, they resided together, but they lived apart when the homicide occured.
Wilcox had a restraining order against him from a previous relationship. He was prohibited from possessing a firearm.
October 7, 2001
33 years old
Near Illinois-Wisconsin Border
Andrea Leu was fatally shot in the head by her boyfriend, Gerald Faulkner, 48. Police believe Gerald shot Andrea while they were in her car and left her in a farm field near the border of Wisconsin and Illinois. Andrea’s car was found in Beloit, WI. Andrea and Gerald had come from Madison to visit her family in the state line area.
After shooting Andrea and dumping her body, Gerald returned to Madison for a change of clothing and money. He then spent two more nights in the state line area traveling between Illinois and Wisconsin before shooting himself in a park near where he left Andrea. Police found his body several days later.
Several incidents of Gerald’s abuse of Andrea had been reported by Andrea’s family and friends and are in Illinois law enforcement records. A number of these incidents had been witnessed by others. Andrea had sought safety by obtaining an Illinois order of protection against Gerald in March 2001 and had moved to Madison to get away from him. Despite her attempts, Gerald followed her to Madison and moved in with her.
November 12, 2000
38 years old
Rachel Shreve was killed while she was hiding from her ex-husband at a friend’s house in Pell Lake. She was shot by her ex-husband, Eddie Hiland, 41, who readily told police that he intended to kill her and that he watched through a window to make sure it was Rachel before he fired. He shot her first through a window and then entered the house, discharging a total of 20 shots. Nine of them hit Rachel. Three children witnessed the attack, but none of them were physically injured.
Eddie had already served nine years in prison for a 1986 assault on Rachel. During that assault he had broken into her home, held a gun to her mouth and threatened to kill her. Rachel had been in hiding since mid-September 2000 after Eddie had forcibly taken her to a cemetery, threatened to “bash her head in” with a metal pipe, and then raped her. Rachel reported the assault to police. Several days before her death, Rachel told police that if Eddie found her he would kill her and she felt he was close.
Eddie was charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide, Possession of a Firearm after a Felony Conviction and Sexual Assault. He is serving a life sentence plus five years.
March, 30 2001
23 years old
According to a medical examiner’s report, Hayden fatally shot Bessie once in the head during at argument at Bessie’s home. All four of her children were present at the murder. After calling his brother and vowing that he would not go to jail for killing Bessie, Hayden killed himself in an alley.
Hayden Harris had a long history of escalating violence against Bessie Thompson. Bessie had recently changed the locks on her apartment and had filed a restraining order against Hayden. On January 23, 2001, Hayden was scheduled to stand trial on five separate domestic violence incidents against Bessie and if convicted he would have faced a nineteen-year prison term. A few days later thecase fell apart and was dismissed. Fearing she would be forced to testify against Hayden, Bessie fled. Hayden’s attorney successfully convinced the court to dismiss the cases against Hayden because Bessie was not present. Hayden had previously been convicted of a felony.
February 1, 2001
21 years old
18 years old
Heather Brown and Teacy Schramm were fatally shot by Heather’s former boyfriend, Craig Shannon, 20. Christi Elliot, 16, was also shot and injured in the incident. After the multiple shooting, Craig committed suicide.
Heather had been dating Craig for several months, but was trying to end the relationship. She had left Craig’s home and was temporarily staying at a motel. When Craig harassed her at the motel the night before the homicide, she called the police to intervene. The day of the homicide, Heather had her first meeting with her probation agent, who was also supervising Craig Shannon. When the agent became aware of their relationship, the probation agent forbade her from living with Craig, who was also on probation.
Around 5:00 p.m. that night, Heather called and requested a civil stand by from police to help her safely retrieve her belongings from Craig’s home. Heather and two friends went to the house but decided not to wait for the police and entered to get her things. Just ten minutes later, at 5:10 p.m., the police were notified of a shooting at Craig’s house. After the shooting occurred, Craig’s friend revealed he had threatened to kill Heather that day. Heather Brown is survived by her two children.
October 31, 2000
22 years old
Kari Hodges was fatally shot by her live-in boyfriend, Christopher Nelson, 29. Less than an hour before her death, Kari had been talking with her sister, Jessi Hodges, on the phone. Jessi had heard arguing going on in the background. “Chris, get that gun out of my face,” is what she heard before the line went dead and her sister was murdered. Their two-year old son was found in the home when police arrived.
Police saw Christopher flee the scene upon arrival and he eluded arrest until January 19, 2001, when he was found in Sauk County. Kari’s family members attested to Chris’s prior abusive behavior toward Kari and court records show that Chris was arrested and convicted of a domestic related incident against another girlfriend in September 2000.
Christopher Nelson was charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide and pled guilty/no contest to First Degree Reckless Homicide. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison with 10 years extended supervision.
Christopher had several prior arrests including a 1996 felony conviction. Kari is survived by their son.
July 2, 2000
25 years old
Alan Pies died of a gunshot wound to the chest at a campground near Wisconsin Dells. Pies had been dating Denise Kowalski, 36, for about 2 weeks before he was murdered by her estranged husband, Thomas Kowalski, 45. Thomas fatally shot Alan in the chest and shot and wounded a female friend of Denise’s while they were all with friends at a campground near Wisconsin Dells to celebrate the Fourth of July. His two young children, ages eight and ten, were nearby. Denise had left Thomas seven months earlier after 13 years of marriage and a long history of domestic violence.
Thomas had driven from his home in Washington County to find his estranged wife at the campground. Thomas told police he came with the intent of killing his wife and two of her female friends, but Alan Pies was shot when he intervened to protect Denise. Thomas then dragged her by her hair, drove her to another county and repeatedly raped and beat her. Denise tried to escape several times succeeding at least once. But Thomas caught up with Denise, beat her and forced her back to the van hidden in a wooded area. About 20 hours after the incident began, Denise finallypersuaded Thomas to give himself up to the Adams County Sheriff’s department.
Denise had an active restraining order against Thomas with a firearms restriction. He had threatened her in the past, telling her she “was not safe anywhere”. Charges were filed in both Adams and Columbia Counties and included First Degree murder, False Imprisonment, Attempted Homicide, and Sexual Assault. He was sentenced to 65 years in prison with 20 years of extended supervision.
February 25, 2000
71 years old
Ardell was fatally shot by Howard, her husband of 52 years, while in her bedroom. After shooting Ardell, Howard, 74, turned the gun on himself. The couple was found a few days after the shooting by one of their adult sons and his wife. The police report indicates the couple had no known history of violence and family members believe the shootings were caused by Howard’s manic depression/bipolar disorder. Howard had been diagnosed with the illness 40 years earlier and was being treated at the time of the murder-suicide. Howard was the subject of a Harassment Restraining Order Injunction with a Firearm Restriction filed in June 1999. Ardell and Howard had three married adult sons and 6 grandchildren.
January 24, 2000
21 years old
After Jerry Robertson, 22, cut the phone line to Sheneena Jones’s home, he broke in and fatally shot her in the head. Jerry then shot himself. When police arrived, Sheneena had already died but Jerry lived until the following day. At the time of the shootings, Sheneena’s sister was also in the home but was not physically hurt. On January 7, 2000, just 17 days before her murder, Sheneena received a temporary restraining order against Jerry. On January 14, 2000, she received a 2 year injunction which prohibited him from possessing firearms. Sheneena had two children, ages one and two.