Janesville50.2°

Man pleads guilty to attempted murder

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
June 18, 2010
— The man charged with attempting to kill a Whitewater minister will be sentenced in July after he pleaded guilty Thursday.

Martin J. Nelson, 23, is accused of slashing the throat of Whitewater minister Michael L. Obinger, 61, on Aug. 20 at the home they shared in La Grange Township.


On Thursday, Nelson pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Other charges stemming from the same incident, which included aggravated battery and felony bail jumping, were dismissed but read in.


Also dismissed but read in were charges from a different case in which Nelson is accused of attempting to stab another man he knew. After that incident, Nelson was arrested at a traffic stop and charged with drunken driving. He entered a guilty plea to that charge.


Authorities say Nelson fled on foot after slashing Obinger, prompting law enforcement officials to search for him in Walworth, Rock and surrounding counties, the sheriff’s office reported.


He was found in a day later in a Whitewater home when a probation and parole agent checked on a client who lived at the residence, police said.


Undersheriff Kurt Picknell said a probation and parole agent was aware of the search but found Nelson at the home by coincidence.


The probation agent was visiting a different person. After noticing Nelson also was in the home, the agent notified authorities, who arrested Nelson.


According to the criminal complaint, Obinger told authorities he woke up and found blood on himself from a cut from the left side of his chin down toward his shoulder. Obinger said he looked up and saw Nelson standing over him with a knife, according to the complaint.


Obinger underwent surgery as a result of the wound, according to the complaint. He was treated at Aurora Lakeland Medical Center in Elkhorn and transported with critical injuries to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa.


After he was released, Obinger told the Gazette that Nelson is a “kid with a terrible past,” and that he was providing Nelson with a home and guidance.


Nelson will be sentenced July 22.



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