Walworth County Judge Phillip Koss asked Derek C. Badger if he remembered going into a Lake Geneva gas station last year and saying he had been kidnapped.
“It’s blurry, obviously,” Badger said at his sentencing Thursday. “What was going on in my mind was I was scared for my safety and the safety of my girlfriend, and I was hallucinating.”
Badger told police Oct. 12, 2018, that two drug dealers got into his car and put guns to his and his girlfriend’s heads, according to the criminal complaint. He said they planted drugs on him so he wouldn’t call police.
His girlfriend, however, told authorities she didn’t know about a kidnapping. She said the two had just smoked methamphetamine.
“Bad reaction to meth,” Lake Geneva police Lt. Ed Gritzner said in an email after the complaint was filed.
Koss sentenced Badger on Thursday to two years of probation with three months in jail with work release.
Badger, 27, formerly of Pell Lake, pleaded guilty Aug. 28 to possessing meth. Other charges were dismissed and read in to the court record.
Badger’s lawyer, Steve Compton, said he “may be the easiest client that I’ve ever had in the sense that he’s incredibly easy-going. He’s incredibly honest and open.”
Compton said the presentence investigator said Badger was honest and that he didn’t think it was his place to give his own sentence recommendation—something some other defendants quickly jump at.
Badger apologized to the court for his “poor decisions.” He worked in the jail’s kitchen to strengthen his work ethic.
“I am trying to move forward,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney Haley Johnson said the police report was “certainly very serious,” especially considering the responding officer drew her weapon.
Johnson did not give a specific sentence recommendation, but she asked the judge to consider Badger’s history of burglaries and that he has had probation revoked before.
She also wanted Koss to consider the “positive steps” Badger has made.
Badger drew praise from a former Walworth County Jail inmate, Robert S. Moore, whom Koss sentenced to probation for his scuffle at the Walworth County Fair demolition derby in 2017.
Moore wrote in a letter to the court that, “I don’t like many people. I have never been that good at making friends.” But he said Badger is his friend.
“Sober Derek was goal oriented, knows work ethic, paying taxes, child support, etc.,” the letter states.
Moore also wrote that Badger expressed interest in mixed martial arts, something Moore said he has done. He shared philosophical thoughts from members of the fighting community, including Bruce Lee, and signed his letter with his name and “MMA fighter and former Walworth County Jail inmate.”
He saw other similarities with his situation and Badger’s—they both are from Illinois, had the same lawyer, same judge and same location in the jail.
“A coincidence or part of a greater plan?” Moore wrote. “You gave me a chance. Compton told me you would—and I will prove you right. I hope you give Derek a chance. I know he will prove you right.”