Murder charge expected against Phillip Byrd of Janesville in Mazomanie woman's death

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Gazette staff
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

MADISON--A murder charge was expected to be filed Thursday against a Janesville man suspected in the February gun slaying of a Mazomanie woman, authorities said.

The Dane County District Attorney's Office on Thursday will file a criminal complaint charging Phillip Byrd, 39, Janesville, with first-degree intentional homicide in the Feb. 23 shooting that killed 43-year-old Mazomanie resident Cheryl Gilberg, according to the Dane County Sheriff's Office.

Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney said at a news conference Wednesday that Byrd is a former Gilberg boyfriend.

Byrd was named the prime suspect in the killing last month and has been in Rock County Jail since Feb. 24 on unrelated charges, including possession of anabolic steroids. He also had prescription drugs authorities said belonged to Gilberg.

Investigators still are looking for a partially pink .38 caliber revolver, a Charter Arms Pink Lady Undercover Lite, according to a news release. The weapon may have been used in the killing.

The gun is one of a number of “items” missing from Gilberg's home, police said earlier.

Byrd was a person detectives wanted to speak with early in the investigation because he was identified as a past boyfriend of the victim, according to the news release. Dane County detectives conducted several interviews with Byrd at the Rock County Jail, and he soon became as the primary suspect.

Byrd is a 1992 graduate of Janesville Parker High School. He wrestled in high school and later at UW-Whitewater.

Byrd has been held on Rock County warrants for charges filed in 2011 for failing to pay child support and for third-offense drunken driving, police said.

He also was arrested on new drug-possession charges.

Byrd was arrested Feb. 24 in a residence at the Woodland Heights mobile home park in Janesville. A search of a bedroom at the residence turned up bottles of medication prescribed to Byrd and a prescription bottle of amphetamine prescribed to Cheryl Gilberg, according to a criminal complaint.

Also found in the room were several bottles of testosterone, syringes and 50 tablets of anadroxyl/oxymetholone, which is a synthetic anabolic steroid and a federally controlled substance.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report

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