Guilty plea entered in murder case

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Ted Sullivan
Saturday, October 25, 2008
— Jeffrey Newberg didn't want to put his family through more heartache.

His father, Howard Newberg, is in jail on a drunken-driving charge.

His sister Laura Lade has alcohol and psychological problems.

Jeffrey going on trial for murdering his mother would have been too much.

"He didn't want to put his family through it," said Jeffrey Krebs, deputy first assistant state public defender. "He's extremely concerned about his family and the damage he's caused them."

Jeffrey, 45, Linn Township, pleaded guilty Friday in Walworth County Court to first-degree reckless homicide and hiding a corpse in the stabbing death of his mother, Alice Newberg, 70.

The first-degree intentional homicide charge was dismissed in a plea agreement. Jeffrey withdrew his plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

The plea agreement was reached because the Newberg family didn't want a trial, Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss said.

Lade is key witness but has psychological and alcohol problems and wouldn't cooperate with authorities, Koss said.

Another witness, Lade's 5-year-old daughter, is in foster care and can't communicate well, he said.

The plea agreement assures that Newberg could spend the rest of his life in prison without the risk of a trial or an appeal, Koss said.

According to the criminal complaint:

Police at 11 a.m. May 23 went to the home Jeffrey shared with his mother at N1000 Highway 120 in Linn Township.

Officers saw Jeffrey walking out of the garage with blood on his head and clothes, and inside the garage investigators found Alice dead. Newberg smelled like alcohol.

Lade turned to her brother and asked, "What did you do, Jeff? What did you do?"

Lade's daughter said, "Hi Mommy. Grandma is dead."

An autopsy report later revealed that Alice had been stabbed multiple times in the back of her body.

A white washcloth with red stains was found in the kitchen. A broken knife with red stains was in the garbage can.

After Jeffrey was arrested, he told investigators he had screwed up. He asked an investigator whether she had a gun.

"Shoot me in the head," Jeffrey said to the investigator.

In court Friday, Jeffrey wore a blue jailhouse uniform and shackles. He told the judge he had no doubt the state could prove him guilty.

Jeffrey told the judge he wanted to plead guilty after discussing the charges and consequences with his attorney. He said he didn't dispute the facts of the case.

A woman in Jeffrey's family sat in the front row of the courtroom. She cried and dabbed her tears with tissue. She declined to comment.

Judge James Carlson decided Jeffrey was competent to change his plea.

Jeffrey remains in jail on $100,000 cash bond. He faces up to 75 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 28.

Last updated: 10:38 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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