$500,000 cash bond set for Clayton Courtney in murder of Britney Cross

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Andrea Anderson
Friday, June 20, 2014

JANESVILLE—A man told police he overheard Clayton Courtney and Britney Cross arguing about money and drugs at Traxler Park the afternoon before Cross' beaten body was found nearby, according to court documents.

The witness later saw Courtney walking alone on Main Street. The man honked and Courtney “jumped” and “seemed paranoid,” according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

The witness statements are part of what Assistant District Attorney Richard Sullivan called an “extremely solid” murder case against Courtney.

Courtney, 28, of Janesville is charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

He is suspected of killing Cross, 21, whose body police found along the Rock River on May 5.

Janesville police arrested Courtney on Thursday at the Rock County Jail, where he was being held on unrelated charges.

Police found Cross dead behind a vacant building at 533 N. Main St. She was bludgeoned to death and died from a head injury, an autopsy revealed.

Personal property and DNA link Courtney to the killing of Cross, who lived in Indianford, police said Thursday.

Among the items found near Cross's body were a gray, flat-brimmed baseball hat with a Wisconsin Badger “W.” Courtney was seen wearing the hat May 4. Also found was a shirt his roommate, Michael Clark, saw Courtney leave the house wearing earlier that day. Courtney's pocket-sized green Bible also was found at the crime scene, the complaint states.

Blood on Courtney's pants and belt matches Cross' DNA, according to analysis done by the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. The crime lab also found Courtney's DNA on a white T-shirt found at the crime scene, and Cross' and Clark's DNA in fingernail scrapings taken from Courtney, according to the complaint.

The night before Cross' body was found, Courtney is accused of stabbing Clark at the house they shared with the mother of Clark's two children at 1602 N. Pontiac Drive.

When police arrived at the home May 4, Courtney was covered with mud and blood and was wearing bloody pants, police said.

During the fight with Clark, Courtney is alleged to have said he already had killed three people.

Clark told police Cross and Courtney were going to the Memorial Bridge on May 4. Courtney likes to “hang out” on the Ice Age Trail underneath the bridge and drink, Clark told police, according to the complaint.

On Thursday, police said they recovered potential weapons in Cross' killing.

Police found 4-inch to 5-inch rocks at the crime scene, one of which they believe could have been used to kill Cross, Lt. Keith Lawver said Thursday.

A rock, a little larger than hand-sized, was found on top of Cross' hair and was covered in what could have been blood, the complaint states.

An autopsy revealed a “large amount” of dirt in Cross' mouth and dirt and a small rock in her stomach contents. Dirt also had been stuffed into her pants along with “a large hunk” of her own hair, according to the complaint.

A motive for the killing has not been determined, police said.

Courtney committed “a rather savage crime,” Sullivan said at Courtney's initial appearance Friday.

Sullivan asked for a $1 million cash bond.

One of Courtney's attorneys, Joshua Klaff, argued for a “modest cash bond,” and claimed the amount the state asked was “absolutely inappropriate.”

Court Commissioner Steve Meyer set bond at $500,000.

Courtney already was being held at the Rock County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond after being charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the stabbing of Clark.

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