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Murder victim had invited man into her home as a friend, court documents say


The woman stabbed to death in her Janesville home had invited a man into her house the night she died, according to a criminal complaint filed in Rock County Court on Wednesday.

Police are “exploring the possibility” the victim and the man were together for romantic purposes, said Lt. Terry Sheridan of the Janesville Police Department.

A criminal complaint filed Wednesday charges Julian D. Collazo, 21, with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Christine Scaccia-Lubeck, 43.

The complaint was filed with a warrant that seeks extradition of Collazo from Missouri, where he was arrested Saturday.

Collazo was known to Janesville police as a gang member with no fixed address.

Scaccia-Lubeck was found in her bedroom with 33 knife wounds at the end of a trail of blood that led from the bathroom and down a short hallway, the complaint indicates.

Blood was on the floor, the walls and in large amounts around the body, the complaint states.

Scaccia-Lubeck’s sister told police she kept a handgun in the bedroom and another gun in the living room. The complaint doesn’t say if the guns were recovered.

Police don’t know how long Scaccia-Lubeck and Collazo knew each other or how they met, Sheridan said.

The complaint indicates Scaccia-Lubeck told her mother she “had a friend over” at her house at 426 S. River St. on Friday night, according to the complaint.

Scaccia-Lubeck told her sister in a phone conversation that “she had someone over” and “she was doing better and was talking about going out to the bars,” according to the complaint.

Those comments likely referred to Scaccia-Lubeck having been saddened by the death of her husband. Her family told police she had been coming out of her distress, Sheridan said.

Jacob D. Lubeck, 42, died Aug. 23 in Winnebago County, Illinois.

Scaccia-Lubeck and her sister had a short text conversation around 7 p.m. Friday, after Scaccia-Lubeck told her she had someone in the house.

The sister said she would call Saturday, adding “I want to hear everything tomorrow.”

Six minutes later, at 7:10 p.m., Scaccia-Lubeck replied: “OMG. Just found out he is 21.”

Her sister sent more texts, but Scaccia-Lubeck did not respond, according to the criminal complaint.

Scaccia-Lubeck’s mother last called her between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., asking if she wanted to eat. She responded she was not hungry and had a friend over, according to the complaint.

The sister called the mother at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, saying she was concerned that Scaccia-Lubeck was not answering her phone, according to the complaint.

The mother went to the house and found her daughter’s body. She called 911.

Police arrived, and the mother told them her daughter’s car should be in the garage. It wasn’t.

Collazo took the car and picked up Nicole R. Kazar, 23, at a gas station, according Kazar’s statements, as recorded in the complaint.

Kazar told investigators she had met Collazo five or six days earlier at Motel 6 in Janesville.

They split up Thursday afternoon, when Collazo said he was going to pick up clothing, she said.

Collazo called her Thursday night or early Friday morning and told her to meet him at the gas station and that he had a car, money and “everything,” according to the complaint, which doesn’t explain how that was possible if the stabbing took place Friday night.

Kazar said Collazo drove her to Beloit and appeared drunk. He told her he had killed a woman and stolen her car, according to the complaint.

He said he also stole about two cases of beer, debit cards, a handgun, an iPad, two Kindle tablets, a laptop computer and a Wii U game console, according to the complaint.

“Kazar said the defendant never told her how he killed the vehicle’s owner and said she continually told the defendant to stop telling her about it,” the complaint states.

The two stayed at her friend’s house and left Beloit the next morning, with Kazar wanting to go to Mississippi to see her son and Collazo wanting to continue on to Texas to see his family, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that a safe in the basement of Scaccia-Lubeck’s house was found empty and that Collazo told a fellow jail inmate in Missouri that he had killed a woman and that he had taken $3,000 from the house, among other items.

The inmate didn’t believe Collazo at first and asked what happened, “and the defendant said he had received a call from Kazar and that Kazar was upset that she heard another female with the defendant,” according to the complaint.

The inmate said “he got the impression that the defendant was protection for Kazar and that Kazar was a prostitute,” and that Collazo said “that he killed the lady to prove to Kazar that he could protect her,” according to the complaint.

Police believe Kazar may have been working as a prostitute, Sheridan said.

The inmate said Collazo told him he stabbed the victim in the bathroom, and she went to the bedroom, where she had a handgun, but she collapsed before getting the gun, according to the complaint.

Police have said they recovered bloody clothing in Scaccia-Lubeck’s car, and they found blood on the shoes Collazo was wearing when he was arrested.

Collazo and Kazar were arrested in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on Saturday night, where they were charged with first-degree tampering with a vehicle and held on $50,000 bonds.

Cops help put smiles on kids for Christmas


Darryl Lewis Sr. is an Army veteran of Desert Storm, a single father and a former railroad worker who can’t work because of kidney disease.

Michele McKinney is a single mother of six children trying to make ends meet by waiting tables at a local restaurant.

Both were smiling Wednesday night at Blain’s Farm & Fleet as they watched their children select gifts from the store’s shelves—gifts that will add joy to their Christmas celebrations.

Their children were among the 25 needy kids paired up with police officers for the annual Shop With a Cop.

Janesville police officer Brad Rau called up the calculator on his phone to keep track of the purchases of Darryl Lewis Jr., 9.

“That’s a good choice. That’s on sale,” said Rau as young Darryl picked a basketball hoop that hangs on the door.

He later chose a Star Wars lightsaber, a basketball and other toys from the shelves that were stocked with brightly colored toys and other items. Rau was patient, following the child’s lead and offering suggestions.

“We were told a lot different,” Lewis Sr. recalled from his own youth. “We were told, ‘Hurry up! Make your mind up and be done with it.’”

But the father was clearly pleased as he pushed the cart behind the officer and boy.

“It helps those in need,” Lewis Sr. said. “It helps get the word out and bridges the gap between law enforcement and the community.

“These are things that need to be showcased,” Lewis Sr. continued. “They’re humans just like us,” he said of the police. “They have families. They’re not just an authoritarian figure.”

Janesville Sgt. Aaron Ellis, meanwhile, was pushing the cart as Landon McKinney, 10, dashed around, finding gifts for his two sisters, three brothers and mother. Socks, jeans and action figures were in his cart.

“He came prepared. He had a list of everyone he wanted to buy for,” Ellis said.

Janesville, Evansville and Milton police officers and Rock County sheriff’s deputies participated.

Each child had $200 to spend.

Farm & Fleet paid for everything, including the sales tax on the $200, Ellis said.

“I think it’s a really positive influence for the community. You know, the kids see the police as a positive force,” McKinney said.

At the checkouts, Darryl Jr. pronounced himself happy “because I get to get toys.”

“Awesome!” said Landon, adding that he can’t remember ever having more fun.

He got to shop for himself and his family, he said, but the best part was giving to others “because then I make them happy.”

GOP says it's got a deal on taxes; cuts coming for next year


Confident congressional Republicans forged an agreement Wednesday on a major overhaul of the nation’s tax laws that would provide generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans—Donald Trump among them—and deliver the first major legislative accomplishment to the GOP president.

Middle- and low-income families would get smaller tax cuts, though Trump and GOP leaders have billed the package as a huge benefit for the middle class. The measure would scrap a major tax requirement of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, a step toward the ultimate GOP goal of unraveling the law.

“The cynical voices that opposed tax cuts grow smaller and weaker, and the American people grow stronger,” Trump said at the White House. “This is for people of middle income, this is for companies that are going to create jobs. This is for very, very special people, the great people of America.”

The business tax cuts would be permanent, but reductions for individuals would expire after a decade—saving money to comply with Senate budget rules. In all, the bill would cut taxes by about $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, adding billions to the nation’s mounting debt.

The legislation, which is still being finalized, would cut the top tax rate for the wealthy from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, slash the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and allow homeowners to deduct interest only on the first $750,000 of a new mortgage.

The top tax rate currently applies to income above $470,000 for married couples, though lawmakers are reworking the tax brackets.

The standard deduction would be nearly doubled, to $24,000 for married couples.

Details of the agreement were described by Republican senators and congressional aides.

“It’s not my vision of the perfect, but again, this is definitely going to be a strong pro-growth tax package,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

Republicans see passage of the legislation as a political imperative, proving to voters they can govern as the GOP fights to hold onto its majorities in the House and Senate. Republicans said they expect the package to increase economic growth, generating additional tax revenue and lessening the hit to the budget deficit. Independent economists aren’t as optimistic.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she and her colleagues expect a “modest lift” to economic growth from the tax package.

Yellen said at a news conference the likelihood of lower taxes is why Fed officials expect the economy to grow at 2.5 percent in 2018. But growth would then slip back closer to its recent 2 percent average.

She said that any wage growth would likely stem from the low unemployment rate rather than the tax cuts.

Negotiators have removed several controversial provisions from the tax bill, including one that would have eliminated the deduction for interest on student loans and another deduction for medical expenses, said two congressional aides.

Also, the bill would no longer start taxing graduate-school tuition waivers, said the aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations.

The tax bill would scale back the deduction for state and local taxes, allowing families to deduct only up to a total of $10,000 in property and income taxes. The deduction is especially important to residents of high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California.

Business owners who report business income on their personal tax returns would be able to deduct 20 percent of that income.

The bill would repeal the mandate that most Americans get health insurance, a provision of the 2010 health care law. Republicans suffered a humiliating defeat this past summer when they were unable to dismantle the health care law after seven years of promises. Scrapping the individual mandate would provide them with more than $300 billion for deeper tax cuts while undermining the law.

Senate leaders plan to vote on the package Tuesday. If it passes, the House would vote next. GOP leaders hope to send the bill to Trump before Christmas.

“Let’s not waver now—let’s not give in to the Washington status quo—not when tax reform is so close,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

The measure has come under assault by Democrats who say it is unfairly tilted in favor of business and the wealthy.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said the public doesn’t know all the details of the bill, “but they smell what’s going on and that is tax cuts for the wealthiest and no help for so many in the middle class.”

Schumer predicted that the politically unpopular bill would drag down Republicans in next year’s congressional elections. “I believe they’ll pay a very steep price for this bill in 2018,” he said.

The agreement was reached hours before a joint House-Senate conference committee met in public for the first time. The committee is charged with blending the tax bills passed by the House and Senate, though Republicans have done all of their negotiations behind closed doors. Democrats have not been included in any substantive talks on the bill.

The full details will be unveiled by the end of the week, Brady said.

Once the plan is signed into law, workers could start seeing changes in the amount of taxes withheld from their paychecks early next year, lawmakers said—though taxpayers won’t file their 2018 returns until the following year.

Corporate tax cuts would take effect in January, allowing businesses to immediately write off the full cost of capital investments.