Man accused in bar shooting to be arraigned Thursday

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Nico Savidge
Monday, July 15, 2013

JANESVILLE--The Beloit man accused of shooting a Fitchburg man three times outside a town of Milton bar in June will be arraigned Thursday on a charge of attempted first-degree murder.

Authorities say Trevonne L. McClarn, 22, formerly of Madison, shot 31-year-old Terry J. Rice in the back and buttocks after a party at the Countryside Inn on June 22.

McClarn's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Don Weeden, challenged that accusation at a preliminary hearing in Rock County Court on Monday morning and said his client plans to plead not guilty at arraignment.

The case against McClarn is based on witness accounts that contradict photos taken before the shooting, Weeden argued, and lacks physical evidence implicating McClarn.

McClarn and Rice were good friends who were getting along well the night of the shooting, Weeden said.

Still, Court Commissioner Charles Holznecht found the witness accounts were sufficient to show that McClarn probably committed a felony, and bound McClarn over for trial.

McClarn sat at the defendant's table Monday in an orange jumpsuit with a handful of friends and family in the court gallery. He is in custody pending a $25,000 cash bond.

Rock County sheriff's Detective Brian Meister testified at the hearing that two witnesses—a bouncer and a woman at the party—saw a man they later identified as McClarn shoot Rice.

The shooting happened in the bar's parking lot as the party ended, according to a criminal complaint.

Neither witness knew the shooter by name, but both picked out McClarn from a collection of photos taken earlier in the night, Meister said, and both told police they were positive McClarn was the shooter.

Weeden criticized the witness accounts Monday, describing the state's case as “all hearsay information.”

The bouncer told authorities he saw a black man wearing a blue shirt and tan shorts shoot Rice in the bar's parking lot, according to a criminal complaint filed in June.

Weeden pointed out that photos from the party showed McClarn wearing a white and orange polo shirt and blue jeans.

Another witness described the shooter as having a goatee, while event photos show McClarn with little facial hair, Weeden said.

Rice did not give police a description of who shot him, Meister said.

Meister testified that a search of McClarn's Madison home did not uncover any firearms or clothing matching the description witnesses gave.

“We move to dismiss,” Weeden said. “In the absence of any physical evidence, all we have is those two different photos. There's no weapon, there's no shell casings, there's no bullet, there's no clothing in Mr. McClarn's possession which matches any of the descriptions.”

Still, Meister's testimony and the witness accounts provided enough evidence to bind McClarn over for trial on a charge of attempted murder, Holznecht said.

The charge carries enhancers for using a dangerous weapon and being a repeat offender—court records show McClarn has pleaded guilty to felonies in Dane and Milwaukee counties.

If he is convicted, McClarn faces up to 71 years in prison.

Last updated: 2:59 pm Monday, July 15, 2013

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