Janesville67.3°

Standoff suspect pleads guilty

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
May 28, 2010
— A Richmond Township man admitted Thursday to shooting at police during a daylong standoff in December, but a judge found that mental illness prevented the man from knowing he was breaking the law.

Richard L. Sallmann, 49, of W8486 Turtle Lake Road, Delavan, now will be evaluated to determine what level of supervision is appropriate for him.


Sallmann pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety. The other charges are expected to be dismissed but read in.


Defense attorney Christopher Kuehn previously said Sallmann has severe mental health issues, including bipolar disorder. After his arrest, Sallmann was taken to Winnebago Mental Health Institute before being moved in February to the Walworth County Jail.


“We agreed there was reason to find him guilty factually, but he lacked the mental state to which to be held responsible,” Kuehn said.


A mental evaluation of Sallmann, who Kuehn said was not regularly taking his medication before the standoff, indicates he was incapable of realizing at the time of the December standoff that his behavior was criminal.


Judge John Race on Thursday ordered a report be prepared to determine what kind of supervision or conditional release Sallmann needs.


“That conditional release could be inpatient services, conditional release, a halfway house or his own house,” Kuehn said. “It just all depends.”


Sallmann had faced six felony charges of reckless safety endangerment by use of a firearm and a misdemeanor count of resisting an officer.


The standoff started the morning of Dec. 29 when the sheriff’s office received a 911 call about a domestic disturbance at the residence.


Authorities said the caller was Sallmann’s 23-year-old son, who came to the house after one of his younger sisters called him because the father had pointed a gun at her. Sallmann’s two daughters, ages 10 and 13, were with him at the house on Turtle Lake Road.


Once the son arrived at the house, Sallmann pointed the gun at him and threatened to shoot all three, the 23-year-old told authorities.


Deputies rescued the daughters from the property and took them to be with family.


Before his surrender at about 7 p.m., Sallmann fired several shots at law enforcement. One shot nearly hit a Walworth County sheriff’s deputy, Graves said. No one was injured.


Since Sallmann has been in custody, Kuehn said, he has been regularly on medication and doing well.


“His big problem was he hadn’t taken meds in a while,” the defense attorney said. “Now he’s much, much better.”


Sallmann is due back in court July 1.



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