Janesville man is "person of interest" in Mazomanie killing

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Neil Johnson
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

JANESVILLE—A Janesville high school graduate has been named as a person of interest in the killing of a Mazomanie woman, Dane County authorities said Wednesday.

In a news release, the Dane County Sheriff's Office named Phillip A. Byrd, 39, as a person of interest in the homicide investigation of Cheryl Gilberg, 43, of Mazomanie.

The news release lists Byrd as a Janesville man. A criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Rock County Court on unrelated drug charges lists a Massachusetts address for him.

Police say a family member discovered Gilberg dead in her home in Mazomanie. Authorities have ruled the death a homicide linked to “firearm violence.”

Authorities say Byrd was being held Wednesday at the Rock County Jail on Rock County warrants for charges filed in 2011 for failing to pay child support and for third-offense drunken driving, police said.

Janesville police said he also is being held on drug violations.

According to a criminal complaint released Wednesday, Janesville police and Dane County detectives found Byrd on Monday at a woman's residence at the Woodland Heights mobile home park, which is on Quail Lane in Janesville.

Police searched a bedroom at the residence. Officers found drawers in the room that contained bottles of medication prescribed to Byrd and a prescription bottle of amphetamine prescribed to Cheryl Gilberg, according to the complaint.

In the same room, police found a backpack the woman said belonged to Byrd, according to the complaint. The bag contained a weight-lifting belt, several bottles of testosterone, syringes, and 50 tablets of anadroxyl/oxymetholone, which is a synthetic anabolic steroid and a federally controlled substance.

The criminal complaint filed Wednesday charges Byrd with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of bail jumping.

An assistant Rock County district attorney at a court hearing Wednesday called Byrd a “person of interest” in the Dane County death investigation.

Authorities have not disclosed Byrd's connection to the case.

Byrd is a 1992 Parker High School graduate. He finished second in the state wrestling tournament while at Parker and wrestled at UW-Whitewater.

Former Parker wrestling Coach Ron Cramer, who coached Byrd in high school, said Byrd was quiet and "never a problem." Byrd wrestled at 112 pounds.

"I never had a problem with Phil. He loved to wrestle. He was an OK student. But when it came time to wrestle, he was as good as there was," Cramer said. "You didn't hear or see much of him except during the four months of wrestling season."

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