Teens sentenced in plot to poison Elkhorn man

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Kayla Bunge
Friday, March 20, 2009
— Dale Hanson was a follower easily swayed when his girlfriend Samantha Thomas told him about her plot to poison her father with WD-40, Hanson’s attorney said.

“It was a really stupid thing to do,” defense attorney Pete Wilson said.

Walworth County Judge James Carlson on Thursday sentenced Hanson to one year in jail with work-release privileges and five years probation for his role in the attempt to poison Thomas’ father, Michael W. Thomas, Elkhorn.

Hanson, 17, of 641 N. Sandy Lane, No. 202, Elkhorn, pleaded guilty to party to second-degree reckless endangerment. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed a charge of party to placing foreign objects in edibles.

According to the criminal complaint, Michael Thomas told Elkhorn police he suspected his daughter had tampered with his beer, possibly in an effort to kill him.

When he arrived home from work Aug. 28, he poured himself a glass of beer and took a sip. The beer tasted terrible and smelled of chemicals, according to the complaint.

Police reviewed surveillance video, which showed Hanson and Thomas talking about poisoning the girl’s father, according to the complaint.

Thomas later told police she sprayed WD-40 into the hoses of the beer keg. She also told police she wanted to make her father sick because she was mad at him and hoped to live with her mother, according to the complaint.

Hanson told police the WD-40 was meant to kill the man, according to the complaint.

Hanson did not speak in court Thursday, but he told the person who wrote his pre-sentence investigation that he was sorry for participating in the plot and that he had learned his lesson, Wilson said. He also indicated the situation has deepened his faith, Wilson said.

“I think it’s a positive outlook on his part,” Wilson said. “This opened his eyes. … Instead of him saying, ‘Oh, me, this is terrible,’ he’s thanking his lucky stars.

“He’s not a criminal. … He did something stupid, and it’s unlikely to occur again.”

Thomas, 17, of Pewaukee was sentenced March 12 to one year in the Waukesha County jail with work-release privileges and five years probation.

She had pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of felony bail jumping. Dismissed as part of a plea agreement were one count of placing foreign objects in edibles, three counts of felony bail jumping, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of obstructing an officer.

Thomas’ dismissed charges stem from three allegations:

-- Thomas went to her former 16-year-old boyfriend’s home in Bloomfield Township on Oct. 30. He asked her to leave, but she refused, and the pair got into an argument, according to the complaint. Thomas was prohibited from having contact with the boy while out on bond.

-- Thomas’ former boyfriend and a group of friends went to Thomas’ home in Pewaukee on Nov. 29. Thomas told police she knew she wasn’t supposed to have contact with the boy, but she had to see him before he went to jail, according to the complaint.

-- Thomas along with her former boyfriend and a group of friends were at an underage drinking party in Delavan on Jan. 17. She gave police a false name because she was afraid, according to the complaint.

Last updated: 9:50 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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