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Lake Geneva man charged with attempted murder

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
December 15, 2009
— A Lake Geneva man charged Monday with arson and attempted murder is accused of stabbing a Delavan man and setting fire to his apartment.

Damen E. Leroy, 31, of 1053 Mobile St. faces 100 years in prison if convicted. He is accused of stabbing 47-year-old Arthur Johnsen at Johnsenís Delavan apartment and setting fire to the property.


Johnsen, who lives in a building of mostly elderly and disabled residents, was expected to recover from his injuries, police said.


According to the criminal complaint:


Officers of the Delavan Police Department responded to a Dec. 5 fire about 10:52 p.m. at an apartment building on Tyrell Court. Sgt. Joshua Flitcroft was entering the apartment complex when dispatchers told him an individual in the building had been stabbed.


The victim said he was sleeping in his apartment when he was attacked. Johnsen told officers Leroy had attacked him and "must have started" the fire.


Leroy was arrested at his home by Lake Geneva police about an hour after the incident. Police said there appeared to be blood stains on his shirt, pants and both hands. He also had cuts to his right hand knuckles.


Leroy admitted trying to kill Johnsen because he "was messing with him." He said Johnsen was "trying to screw up my religion."


Leroy said Johnsen was "pretending to be his friend, but he caught him in many lies."


"I stabbed him, I was trying to kill him, and I should go to prison," he told police.


Leroy used an 11-inch knife he described as a "Rambo" knife.


Leroy told authorities he had gone to Johnsen's apartment that evening and found the man lying in his bed. He stabbed Johnsen in the neck and punched him four to five times in the face.


Johnsen was able to wrestle the knife away from Leroy. Leroy said he used books in Johnsen's room to start the fire because he wanted to burn the place and kill the Delavan man.


He said it was "stupid" to do that because he knew other people lived in the building.


The blaze caused moderate smoke throughout the apartment building's second and third floors, but the fire was confined to Johnsenís apartment, Delavan Police Chief Tim OíNeill said. Police and fire personnel helped about 40 residents from the building. They were displaced for about two hours.


Leroy is being held on $100,000 cash bond and is scheduled for an initial court appearance today.



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