Police: Suspect in ax attack was in relationship with female victim

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Neil Johnson
Monday, April 15, 2013

— Police say a Janesville man was in a “domestic relationship” with a woman he is accused of trying to kill with an ax Saturday in an apartment near downtown Janesville.

Authorities arrested Jeffrey J. Starkman, 34, of Janesville on two counts of attempted intentional homicide after he led police in a vehicle chase Sunday morning that ended at a truck stop in Beloit.

Starkman is suspected of breaking into an apartment at 419 S. Main St. and attacking a woman and a man with an ax late Saturday near downtown Janesville, seriously injuring them, police said.

The man and woman, who have not been identified, were taken to Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, Janesville, on Saturday night with serious but “non-life threatening” head injuries from blows with an ax, according to reports.

Police said an investigation revealed that the attack was not a “random act” and that Starkman and the woman were involved in a “domestic relationship.”

In a report released early today, police said the woman called 911 at 10:17 p.m. to report that Starkman had attacked her and a “male companion” with an ax and that Starkman had then fled on foot.

Police found the victims inside an apartment conscious but bleeding with serious head injuries, Janesville police Sgt. Jim Holford said.

Police said one of the victims lives at the apartment where the attack took place. According to online court records, Starkman lived at 2521 Bond Place, Janesville, as of April 5.

Police have not released a motive for the attack, and it’s not clear whether others might have witnessed or heard the attack. Janesville police Sgt. Charles Aagaard said Starkman forced his way into the apartment before the attack.

Both the man and woman attacked are listed in “guarded condition” at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, and police said the man underwent surgery overnight for head injuries.

Police had cordoned off a city block around the area of South Main Street and Oakland Avenue shortly after the attack Saturday. A tactical police team of officers from the Janesville Police Department and the Rock County Sheriff’s Office conducted a manhunt of the neighborhood using foot patrols, police vehicles and K-9 officers.

In a news release from the police department early today, police said they were still searching for Starkman and that he was considered armed and dangerous. At that time, authorities believed he may have been on foot or in a late-model Oldsmobile car.

Later Sunday morning, officers spotted Starkman driving a vehicle eastbound on Racine Street toward Interstate 90/39. Police tried to stop his vehicle, but Starkman fled south on I90/39 and led officers on a chase southbound before he pulled off at the Milwaukee Road exit in Beloit, Aagaard said.

Police found Starkman in the parking lot of a truck stop along Milwaukee Road and took him into custody, Aagaard said. In addition to attempted homicide, Starkman was arrested on charges of fleeing police and burglary.

Aagaard said Starkman was arrested on the burglary charges because he forced entry to the victim’s apartment to commit a crime.

The scene of the attack Saturday was tense as police along South Main Street cordoned off the area. Officers armed with tactical assault weapons shouted to curious residents, telling them to get inside their homes as police combed yards looking for Starkman.

One officer in a police radio dispatch urged paramedics to hurry to the scene after apparently discovering the man had three open ax wounds on his head.

It’s not clear whether Starkman carried off the ax that police believe he used in the attack or if police were able to recover the weapon.

Last updated: 10:25 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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