Authorities say Eric B. Fenne filled his life with violence, drugs and alcohol and spent much of it in jail, prison or under supervision.
He was sentenced to prison in Rock County Court on Thursday.
Fenne, 29, formerly of Madison and recently of rural Milton, helped rob a Janesville gas station and then held law enforcement at bay at a rural house where he had been staying, 2306 E. County M in rural Milton, on Nov. 8 and 9, 2017.
Fenne pleaded guilty Jan. 2 to reduced charges of party to a crime of endangering safety by reckless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and domestic-abuse strangulation/suffocation.
Fenne’s accomplice, Rache T. Boyd, 24, of Madison, pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to party to armed robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
McCrory sentenced Boyd to five years in prison and 12 years of extended supervision.
Fenne was previously convicted by a Dane County jury in a shooting incident in Madison on the day of the Janesville robbery.
Fenne was drinking heavily and can’t remember much of what happened, said his attorney, Jason Gonzalez.
He was sentenced to six years in prison and eight years of extended supervision in the Dane County case for first-degree recklessly endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon, endangering safety by reckless use of a firearm and felon in possession of a firearm.
Judge Barbara McCrory ordered that five years of the Rock County sentence would run concurrent with the Dane County case, agreeing with defense attorney Jason Gonzalez that the Dane County incident and the armed robbery in Janesville were part of the same “course of conduct.”
But McCrory ordered that her sentence of three years in prison and three years of supervision for the domestic-violence charge would run consecutively to the Dane County sentence, for a combined total of nine years in prison followed by 11 years of supervision.
Fenne got 477 days of sentence credit for time he spent in jail, and McCrory made him eligible for prison rehabilitation programs that offer a chance of reducing his prison time, if he succeeds.
On the day of the crimes, Fenne called Boyd, who agreed to abscond from a Madison halfway house, and the two bought ammunition at Walmart in Madison for Fenne’s handgun so they could rob the Janesville convenience store, District Attorney David O’Leary said.
Fenne claimed he didn’t remember what happened after they went to Walmart, but O’Leary said Fenne was trying to dodge his guilt.
Fenne told Boyd to rob the store because he was concerned that he, a large black man with a prominent tattoo, could be easily recognized, O’Leary said.
Boyd got away with about 17 packs of cigarettes and $89 cash, according to the criminal complaint.
The pair ended up at the rural Milton residence in the early morning hours of Nov. 9. Fenne was living there with a woman who was pregnant with his child, O’Leary said.
They watched TV, the pregnant woman went to bed but awakened to the sounds of Fenne and Boyd having sex in the living room, and she hit Fenne in the face, according to the complaint.
Fenne told Boyd to “shoot that b----!” and then said not to shoot, and then again told her to shoot, O’Leary said.
At one point Boyd cocked the pistol and pointed it at the woman’s head, and she later fired twice out the front door, according to the complaint.
Fenne also choked the woman during the altercation, according to the complaint.
The woman escaped and called 911, leading to a six-hour standoff with sheriff’s deputies.
O’Leary described phone calls Fenne made to the pregnant woman from jail in which he told her he loved her and wanted them to be a family. He also asked her to lie so he could avoid prison. A letter from Fenne to Boyd also promised love and asked her to change her statement.
“He doesn’t care who he hurts,” O’Leary said, calling Fenne a “master manipulator.”
Fenne has rarely worked for a living, O’Leary said, adding: “He basically has the knack of finding women who will support him.”
Fenne spoke at length, saying he made bad decisions and must go to prison, but he asked McCrory to spare him from the 10 years in prison O’Leary recommended, on top of the six years from Dane County, because, he said, he wants to give his son something he didn’t grow up with: a father.
“I don’t think I’m a monster,” he said, adding that he is not a bad person when he is not drinking and doing drugs.
McCrory complimented Fenne on his words, saying she believes he is intelligent, but she said it’s sad he did not use that potential for good.