Beloit man sentenced to 25 years in prison

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Jonah Beleckis
Saturday, June 17, 2017

ELKHORN—Patrick Salzman has said he doesn't remember much of what happened the night of March 26, 2016, but a Walworth County judge called it "vicious" and a “crime spree.”

During that “spree,” Salzman tried to sexually assault a dancer at the Show Palace Gentlemen's Club, slit an employee's throat and drunkenly crashed a vehicle he had carjacked.

Judge Kristine Drettwan said Friday that she needed to protect the public from a man who attacked strangers. She sentenced Salzman, 31, of Beloit to 25 years in prison.

The bulk of that sentence—18 years—stems from the attempted first-degree intentional homicide charge Salzman was convicted of Feb. 22.

A male employee saw Salzman grab money from a tip jar at the club and grabbed Salzman's arm. The Beloit man then turned and slit the employee's throat, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Leusink said.

Leusink read the victim's statement in court:

“I tense up when people approach me,” the man wrote. “I religiously lock doors and windows, even when it's not necessary. Physically, my neck is numb. Even shaving with an electric trimmer is an adventure. Sensation makes me nauseous. I do not have a full range of motion to turn my head. I have a nasty scar, about 8 inches long.”

The surgeon who treated the employee testified that, as Drettwan noted Friday, “It was quite remarkable that (the employee) wasn't killed or didn't bleed out. Only a matter of millimeters.”

Before the attack on the employee, Salzman tried to sexually assault a woman in the VIP area of the club. Witnesses said Salzman demanded that the woman have sex with him.

Leusink noted during sentencing that Salzman had lost his job a few months before the incident for sexually harassing a co-worker.

He also mentioned a 2013 domestic incident in which Salzman slashed the tires of a car belonging to a woman he knew.

After leaving the club, Salzman got into a man's car in the parking lot. The man testified he heard the click of a knife opening.

“One of the more frightening things I've ever seen on video,” Drettwan said of security footage of Salzman entering the man's car. “That's every person's nightmare, that someone is in your back seat. We see it on movies all the time. You glance into your rearview, and there's somebody there. That happened.”

The man got out of his car, but Salzman kept driving and later crashed the car. He registered a 0.26 blood alcohol content when tested and was convicted of second-offense intoxicated driving.

After he lost his job, Salzman had been living as a “hermit,” Leusink said, which he said was consistent with his pattern of keeping to himself.

Salzman's mother, Janice Salzman, said her son was a hard worker who routinely helped people with car repairs. She said he was a good father to his son and daughter.

However, Drettwan noted the pre-sentence reports said Salzman did not know his children's grade levels in school.

Salzman's lawyer, Michelle Dietrich, praised his steady employment history before his December 2015 firing. She said he was a low risk to re-offend and should be sentenced accordingly.

She agreed, however, that prison time was necessary.

Salzman's sentence includes 19 years of extended supervision. He has already served 447 days in the Walworth County Jail, and Dietrich said he served 400 hours of community service.

Dietrich said Salzman is not eligible for early release.

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