‘Is the guy dead?’: Documents offer official version of Janesville ax attack

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staff, Gazette
Friday, April 19, 2013

— Jonathan Barthel said he started toward the apartment’s front door after he heard Katrina Patrick scream outside.

Barthel already had argued with Patrick’s ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Starkman, and had seen him watching her apartment from a parking lot across the street Saturday night, Barthel told police.

But before Barthel reached the apartment door, Starkman opened it with an ax in hand. He had just attacked Patrick, police said, and now was going after Barthel.

Authorities released more information this week about the Saturday night attack, which started as a jealous argument over Patrick and Barthel’s relationship, according to court documents.

It ended with Starkman in custody after a police chase the next morning, while Patrick and Barthel recovered in a hospital from skull fractures suffered in the assault, police said.

As an officer drove him back to the Janesville police station, Starkman started asking questions about Barthel, authorities said.

“Is the guy dead?” Starkman asked, according to documents.

Prosecutors have charged Starkman with two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and one count each of aggravated battery, domestic aggravated battery, burglary and fleeing an officer.

Starkman made his first appearance in court Wednesday, according to online records. He is in custody at the Rock County Jail on a $335,000 cash bond, and is next due in court April 23.

A criminal complaint in Rock County Court this week shed more light on the attack.

Starkman and Patrick had been in a relationship for six years but recently broke up, she told police.

On Saturday afternoon, Starkman came to Patrick’s apartment at 419 S. Main St. to visit their two children, according to the complaint.

At one point, Starkman took their children to a baby sitter near his home, 2521 Bond Place, then returned to Patrick’s apartment, according to the complaint.

When he got there, Starkman told police, he saw Barthel at the apartment with an overnight bag and confronted him. Starkman accused Barthel and Patrick of sleeping together, authorities said.

Throughout that night, Patrick and Barthel told authorities, they saw Starkman around the apartment, watching them from a parking lot across Main Street.

Patrick “believed he was stalking her,” according to the complaint.

Some time after 10 p.m., Patrick went out onto her porch to have a cigarette. Starkman walked up to her with an ax and hit her twice over the head, according to the complaint.

As he walked into the house and toward Barthel, Patrick said she heard Starkman say, “That’s what you get for sleeping with him.”

When he saw Starkman walk in with the ax, Barthel tried to flee, according to the complaint.

Starkman caught him in the apartment’s rear bedroom, hit him in the head three times with the axe and then left, authorities said.

When officers arrived, they found Barthel lying in a pool of blood.

Police flooded the neighborhood looking for Starkman. They spotted him on East Racine Street the next morning, authorities said.

The effort to follow Starkman on Interstate 90/39 soon turned into a high-speed chase, “with speeds staying around 100 miles per hour,” according to the complaint.

Police finally arrested Starkman at gunpoint in a field near a Beloit truck stop, authorities said.

As officer James Holford III took Starkman back to Janesville, Starkman asked if Barthel had survived and if he was going to be charged with assault or murder, according to the complaint.

When Holford told Starkman he didn’t know, Starkman responded, “My life is over either way,” authorities said.

Last updated: 10:24 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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