TOWN OF DELAVAN
One neighbor said she was “heartbroken” Sunday night after a 58-year-old woman was found dead with stab wounds in her town of Delavan home in what police are investigating as a homicide.
The woman’s 56-year-old husband was arrested at the home Sunday morning in the 4000 block of South Channel Drive and is the suspect, town of Delavan Police Chief Raymond Clark said Sunday night.
Police declined Sunday to identify the victim and suspect, pending notification of family.
The suspect called police and said he had stabbed his wife, according to a town of Delavan Police Department press release.
Police arrived at the home at 10:36 a.m. Sunday. The suspect was standing in the driveway when police arrived, according to the release.
The woman was found dead inside with stab wounds, according to the release. Clark said a knife was recovered and is believed to be the weapon.
Clark said the last homicide in the town was in 2004.
Carri Townsend, who lives behind the suspect and victim’s home, said she was in a “state of shock” Sunday night.
“They just seemingly had a great life like anybody else,” she said of the suspect and victim. “They’ve got a beautiful home ... an awesome dog that they loved. I don’t know.
“I’m so heartbroken. I can’t fathom it.”
Clark said he did not believe police had been called to the home before Sunday’s incident.
Townsend said the suspect and victim had lived at the home on Channel Drive near Mulberry Avenue since she had moved into her home more than a year ago.
She said her kids had gone swimming in the couple’s pool.
“We never heard them fight or anything,” Townsend said. “He came to my brother’s 50th birthday party. Just the nicest guy in the whole world.
“Just normal, everyday people.”
Townsend’s husband, Tim, said he was in “disbelief.”
He said the neighborhood is a tight-knit community. Homes are located close together, and neighbors are “here for each other,” he said.
“My heart breaks for them and their family,” Tim said. “He was a jokester. He joked with me; he joked with the kids.”
Clark said the name of the suspect and victim likely will be released today. He said he believed the two have children from previous marriages.
He said Sunday’s incident is unusual for the town and that residents should not worry.
“We’re a small, safe community, but anywhere in the world, things can happen,” Clark said. “For us, it’s not a common thing.”
Janesville has converted some additional parking spaces downtown from all day to two-hour restrictions to complete Downtown Janesville Inc.’s original request for changes.
The downtown business organization believes time limits on parking spaces, especially those near retail shops and restaurants, will increase vehicle turnover throughout the day and make businesses more accessible to customers, said Emily Arthur, the executive director of Janesville’s business improvement district and a member of Downtown Janesville Inc.’s ad hoc parking committee.
The recent changes from all day to two-hour parking include portions of West Milwaukee Street, South Parker Drive and North Franklin Street. The city finished the conversion last week, civil engineer Karissa Chapman Greer said.
The city also converted most one-hour spaces to two-hour parking. It was too difficult to enforce such a short window, she said.
The original round of changes started in October. Downtown Janesville Inc. worked with the city to re-evaluate areas of timed parking downtown, she said.
“They were just getting a little bit of their participants asking, ‘People want to come to lunch at my restaurant or shop in my store, and there’s people parked all day,’” Chapman Greer said. “We hadn’t really looked at timed parking in a couple of years.”
The city also removed all-day parking signs because it considered them unnecessary. It helps reduce sign clutter downtown, she said.
To compensate for new timing restrictions, Janesville removed two-hour stalls inside the parking garage on North Parker Drive. Most spots are now all day, aside from some leased spaces and a couple electric vehicle charging stations, Chapman Greer said.
Deputy Police Chief Terry Sheridan said the electric vehicle charging stations are one of the biggest culprits for downtown parking tickets since the department began enforcement efforts in November. Signs inside the parking garage say vehicles must be plugged in and charging to stay in those spaces.
Other hotspots for parking tickets include Main Street between Milwaukee and Court streets and the 100 block of West Milwaukee Street, Sheridan said.
The police department has two part-time community service specialists. Parking enforcement is one of their duties, which also include smaller issues such as found property, stalled vehicles and barking dogs, he said.
The department intends to hire another person to that role and create a new position that would exclusively focus on parking enforcement. Enforcement is mostly based on proactive officer observations, but because the people responsible are only part-time workers, parking tickets also come from resident complaints, Sheridan said.
He estimated the department issued 100 tickets combined in November and December.
Chapman Greer said as downtown undergoes more development and completes the Milwaukee Street bridge replacement, the city would be open to working with Downtown Janesville Inc. again for more tweaks.
Arthur applauded the city for working collectively with Downtown Janesville Inc. to create a more business friendly environment.
“If a business owner or office employee is parked in front of a retail business all day, it’s less accessible for customers coming in to shop,” Arthur said. “It just opens up some parking spaces a little bit more.”
In the course of 15 months and in the space of one city block, Milwaukee police twice encountered two suspects they believed were armed.
One was black; one was white.
One was in fact unarmed; one had a gun.
One was shot; one was not.
That the black man was the one who was shot—though he had no weapon—might come as little surprise at a time when police shootings involving black men seem commonplace nationally.
Milwaukee has been an epicenter. In 2014, Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill man, was shot 14 times by police. In August 2016, 23-year-old Sylville Smith was killed by an officer. After the first, the city equipped police with bodycams; after the second, there were riots.
The shooting of 19-year-old Jerry Smith Jr. in 2017 did not set off similar convulsions. And the blood-free resolution of the standoff involving 20-year-old Brandon Baker this past November drew little notice. But taken together, they prompt a difficult and unanswerable question:
If their races were reversed—if Smith were white, and Baker were black—would Baker have been the one who was left bleeding and writhing in pain?
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In the darkness Nov. 6, Election Day, Baker took to the roof of his apartment building and started firing guns. His neighbors, alarmed, called police.
Until then, his criminal record consisted of minor traffic violations, pot possession and carrying a concealed weapon in September.
He had created his Twitter account a few days prior and started writing about running for governor, promising money for underfunded schools, pledging to legalize marijuana. He would pardon all felons so they could regain their right to bear arms.
Just after 5 a.m., two police officers sent to the scene encountered Baker on Michigan Avenue, in front of the entrance to the building.
He refused to drop the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle he was holding. He admitted that he had fired the shots earlier and said he had posted a video of it on Twitter. He told the officers he was running for governor, that he was going to the polls to “air it out,” that he was going to start a militia. He had a right to bear arms, he said.
As they talked, other officers approached him quietly from behind and tackled him.
“I’m not moving. Don’t shoot me!” Baker screamed in the video he was broadcasting, which WISN-TV obtained before its removal from Twitter.
Not a shot was fired.
In addition to the rifle he was holding, Baker had three loaded handguns—one in his backpack, another in his waistband and a third in his jacket, prosecutors said. In his apartment, they said officers found 232 grams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana; 14 stamps saturated with LSD; and 73 jars of what were believed to be psilocybin mushrooms.
Baker faces numerous charges, including recklessly endangering safety and “maintaining a drug trafficking place.” His public defender, who did not respond to requests to comment, has ordered a second doctor’s evaluation to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial.
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On Aug. 31, 2017, officers Melvin Finkley and Adam Stahl were on patrol when they received a call about a man with a gun in the predominantly black neighborhood west of downtown Milwaukee. Finkley is black; Stahl is white.
It was around 1 p.m. when they got to the parking garage at North 29th Street and West Wisconsin Avenue. Jerry Smith was on the roof.
That afternoon, he and a friend had gone to a house in the neighborhood to confront someone with whom Smith had a problem. Police later said Smith and his friend were looking for a fight, and after a brawl ensued with several others, Smith left to get a gun. When an officer approached him to ask about the fight, he ran away and took to the roof.
A handful of officers below were yelling commands, telling him to put his hands up because they had him surrounded.
Two officers stood on the stairs leading up to the garage’s roof. When Finkley and Stahl approached, Finkley asked: “He got the gun in his hand?”
“He doesn’t have a gun in his hand, but he was hiding behind the AC unit,” an officer responded.
The tip that Smith had a gun came from the people he had been fighting.
Finkley and Stahl climbed to the roof with their guns trained on Smith and joined the chorus of officers yelling commands. Smith briefly extended his arms just above his waist to show his empty hands, palms out, and then began crouching slowly to the ground. That’s when the two officers fired three shots, with one bullet grazing Smith’s head and the others striking his abdomen.
“I’m going to die!” Smith wailed in agony, on the ground. “I didn’t do nothing.”
The encounter lasted about 10 seconds. No gun was found.
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Smith survived, but his right leg is partially paralyzed and he needs a cane to walk. He wasn’t charged with a crime and has a pending federal lawsuit against the police, alleging officers acted “with deliberate indifference.”
“I had my hands up. It’s on them,” Smith said at a recent news conference.
“Everybody scared of the police, every black man that’s from around” the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, he said.
But the Milwaukee district attorney’s office reviewed Smith’s shooting and concluded the officers’ actions were justified because they “reasonably believed” Smith was armed, based on information from dispatch, and they thought he might reach for a gun behind the air conditioning unit.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said people need to consider “the totality of the circumstances” when an officer is involved in a shooting. He said officers are under stress and taking in a lot of information—from what they are told while responding to a call to their own observations—and they have to make sense of it all in seconds.
“I’ve been involved in these things. And I can tell you, in the incidents I’ve been involved in more than once, when it happened, my body just did it. ... There are things that are instinctual after you do it over and over again,” Morales said, at a Dec. 6 meeting of the Milwaukee Common Council.
This shooting was recorded in its entirety by Stahl’s body camera. Experts who viewed the video at the request of The Associated Press were not in agreement on what it revealed, though they acknowledged that there was little in it that justified the shooting.
Jeff Noble, an officer for 30 years who’s now a law enforcement consultant, said he saw no “immediate threat” posed by Smith but echoed Morales’ wariness of criticizing the officers’ reactions.
Kevin Cokley, a psychology professor and director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis at the University of Texas at Austin, was unequivocal: “This was not a justified shooting.”
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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett declined to comment on Smith’s shooting because there’s pending litigation, but in a statement he cautioned against comparing the cases.
Others, though, are troubled by two encounters with very different outcomes.
Alderman Khalif Rainey, who is black, contrasted Smith’s shooting with how police apprehended Baker “without having to harm him at all.”
Rainey said he has stopped believing he’ll never find himself in a situation like Smith’s.
“It’s real serious. At one point in time I thought, ‘Not me,’” he said. “But now it’s like, something goes wrong, you make the wrong move, you make the wrong gesture ... and now I’m shot. Now I’m paralyzed. Now I’m dead.”
Steven Charles Burgess
Joan S. Byerley
Robert W. Jones
Robert G. Pettibone
Leona Mae Radloff
By all accounts, it’s a show with “broad appeal.”
Showcasing its artistic versatility, the Janesville Performing Arts Center has booked comic actresses Jane Lynch and Kate Flannery to perform their two-woman musical stage show, “Two Lost Souls,” at this year’s annual gala at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 4.
The show, described as “the Rat Pack with a couple of broads,” features the pair performing their renditions of songs that range from Broadway hits to The Barry Sisters to the Swinging ’60s.
“It’s two really funny women on stage doing a cabaret set, and the jazz quartet they have backing them up (The Tony Guerrero Quintet) is a professional group out of California, so they’re really good,” said Nate Burkart, executive director at JPAC. “It’s going to be a world-class show all the way around with a little bit of everything.”
An Emmy award-winner, Lynch is known for her role as gym teacher Sue Sylvester in the television hit “Glee” and for appearances in such comedy films as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Role Models,” “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind” and “Talladega Nights.” She also has hosted NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night” since 2013.
“Jane Lynch is a megastar, and she is truly one of the most talented people we’ll ever have up on the JPAC stage,” Burkart said.
Flannery, a former member of The Second City’s national touring company and longtime friend of Lynch, is best recognized as the alcohol-induced Meredith Palmer from NBC’s cult TV hit “The Office.” She also has appeared on “Boomtown,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
The interactive performance, which features the multitalented Lynch and Flannery not only crooning but also dancing (sort of) and telling jokes, is a departure from the standard concert JPAC has hosted for galas since it opened in 2004.
“When we pick a gala artist, what we want to do is tell a story about the center,” Burkart said. “For the last few years, we’ve had country crossover acts, so we wanted to do something a little different this year. In the past, that’s what people wanted, but this is more like Tony Bennett meets the ‘Comedy on Main’ series. It embodies everything the center does collectively throughout the year.”
Tickets cost $60 per person. They go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14, but those attending the JPAC Improv Comedy Troupe show at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, or Dueling Pianos at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, can buy them in advance.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit the JPAC box office at 408 S. Main St., go online to JanesvillePAC.org or call 608-758-0297.