Tyler Myszkewicz says two of his role models died the night of Oct. 25, 2016, when his uncle Alan M. Johnson shot his father, Ken Myszkewicz.
Tyler said he and Alan had been like brothers, that he trusted Alan perhaps more than anyone else.
But Alan “betrayed that trust,” Tyler said during his uncle’s sentencing hearing Friday in Walworth County Court. He repeatedly called Alan’s actions “reckless.”
Ken’s wife, Kimberly Myszkewicz, who is Alan’s sister, called Alan a “stranger.”
“I do not know who this person is,” Kimberly said.
Kimberly and Tyler—both wearing cycling jerseys Friday in memory of Ken, an avid cyclist—asked for the maximum prison sentence for their brother and uncle.
Walworth County Judge Kristine Drettwan said her sentencing decision was “heart-wrenching.” She ordered 25 years in prison for Alan, who was convicted of first-degree reckless homicide in November 2017. She also called for 10 years of extended supervision.
More than 20 people attended the sentencing hearing.
A jury on Nov. 7 declined to convict Alan of more serious offenses—first- or second-degree intentional homicide—which means the jury believed Alan acted with utter disregard for human life, but he did not intend to kill Ken.
Alan, 32, has said he went to the Myszkewicz home Oct. 25, 2016, to find evidence of child pornography he had seen years earlier on Ken’s computer. He brought a gun because he said he feared Ken, who had physically and sexually assaulted him and another relative before.
Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo said she examined the contents of Ken’s computer, and in her experience of prosecuting child sex crimes, she could not have charged Ken based on what Alan saw.
Donohoo emphasized Ken, 43, was killed in the middle of the night, while he was naked and in his own home, by someone who brought a gun and did not have permission to be in the house. She said she could not have prosecuted Ken if he had killed Alan, based on those facts.
She asked for no less than 30 years in prison. The state Department of Corrections pre-sentence report called for 20 years.
Ken’s relatives shared what they would miss about him: his jokes, favorite foods, how he would help slower cyclists during races.
Tyler’s fiancé, Hannah Hitchcock, said she last saw Ken at a friend’s wedding, where Ken smiled at her, pointed at the bride and groom and said, “That could be you guys soon,” Hitchcock recalled.
Many people filed letters about Ken to the court, Drettwan said.
Many also wrote letters on Alan’s behalf.
One letter mentioned how Alan cooked and cleaned for his sister Nicole Carlson after her surgery. He also consistently helped her with her finances. She called him the “glue” that held the family together.
He set up college funds for his nephew and niece, according to a letter from Alan’s mother, Cathy Johnson.
Stephen Hurley, one of Alan’s lawyers, wrote in a brief before sentencing that Alan did not pose a risk to the public and should get five years in prison.
Alan has been a “model inmate” at the Walworth County Jail, which shows what kind of person he is, Hurley wrote.
Alan has helped inmates understand the charges against them. He has helped them with schoolwork, given them math worksheets and rewarded them with playing cards when they completed assignments. He created games for them to play, Hurley wrote.
So how could a person such as Alan kill someone else?
One relative wrote about how she was raped when she was 10 years old. She said she felt shame, that she has carried the burden for years, living in fear and wondering if it would happen again.
“Fear causes us to make decisions we normally wouldn’t make,” her letter reads. “He should have stopped shooting after the first shot, but with 20-plus years of pent-up hurt, anger and fear, it poured out of him as he shot (Ken).”
Alan’s father, Eric Johnson, is in declining health. He has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, post-concussion syndrome and chronic pain syndrome, according to a doctor’s note filed by the defense.
After living in New York, Alan moved back to Wisconsin and took care of his father.
“I have greater respect for Alan than any other man,” Eric wrote in his short letter. “Alan has been the stability in our family.”
That stability vanished when Alan was taken into custody.
“(Eric’s) condition has deteriorated in the context of the stress related to his son’s legal troubles, and the loss of support that occurred since his son has been incarcerated,” the letter from a Department of Veterans Affairs doctor states.
“Prior to his son’s incarceration, Mr. Johnson relied on his son routinely for both emotional support as well as to help him with getting to and from appointments and other physical support with managing day-to-day routines and activities that are challenging due to his mental health and physical disabilities.”
When Drettwan announced her sentence, Alan’s father and mother doubled over in their seats.
As his mother began to cry, his father put his arm around her.