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Wisconsin roundup: Elections commission chairman calls Senate leader ‘coward and bully’; teen claims to be dealing — not stealing; more state news stories

MADISON — The Wisconsin Elections Commission chairman is calling on state senators to stand up to the majority leader and vote to confirm Michael Haas as administrator of the agency.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has refused to hold a confirmation hearing. Commission chairman Mark Thomsen called Fitzgerald a coward and a bully Tuesday. Thomsen says he thinks senators will "have the guts to stand up to the bully," speaking of Fitzgerald. A spokesperson for Fitzgerald says the Senate will reject the confirmation of Haas and Ethics Commission head Brian Bell with a vote Jan. 23.


Teen’s car-theft alibi: I was selling drugs

MADISON — A 17-year-old suspected car thief offered a novel defense when arrested by Madison police — he says he wasn't stealing the stolen car because he was dealing drugs at the time.

The woman's vehicle was taken Monday night when she left it running while she went into a restaurant to pick up a take-out order. When police started chasing the stolen car, two teenagers ditched it and ran away. One of the two was caught by officers. Police say he's a suspect in several cases and was wearing a GPS ankle bracelet when apprehended.


Wisconsin continues losing dairy farms despite production increases

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protect reports the state lost 500 dairy farms last year.

That continues a trend dating back several decades. Wisconsin currently has a little over 8,800 licensed dairy herds now. The reduction in the number of farms comes at a time dairy production is actually increasing. That is an indicator commercial dairy operations are expanding. Market conditions make it increasingly difficult for small dairy farms to remain profitable. In many cases, they are moving into specialty fields.


Dassey case could wind up before U.S. Supreme Court

MILWAUKEE — A federal judge in Milwaukee has officially dismissed Brendan Dassey's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Judge William Duffin had overturned Dassey's conviction in the murder of Teresa Halbach, but a federal appeals court disagreed. Judge Duffin said investigators violated Dassey's constitutional rights during interrogation. Despite the setback, attorneys for Dassey say they will take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. He and his uncle were convicted in separate trials of murdering Halbach, a freelance photographer, 12 years ago.


Inmate serving life sentence for murder given 4 more life terms

MADISON — A federal judge has given a 37-year-old prison inmate four life sentences for a pair of Wausau robberies.

Curtis Langlois was already serving a life term for killing Kendrith J. Young. Federal agents say Langlois murdered Young, then drove to Wausau to stick up a convenience store and a video store, getting about 26-hundred dollars. Langlois' 27-year-old girlfriend, Holly Antijunti, has been given a five-year sentence for buying the gun he used in the crimes. Langlois couldn't buy it because he was a convicted felon.


Aniwa woman given probation for stealing dogs

SHAWANO — Neighbors living near a 44-year-old Aniwa woman say their dogs had gone missing in recent months.

Kimberly Lawrence told investigators she found the dogs running loose on the road. Lawrence has entered a series of guilty and no-contest pleas to charges she stole the animals. More than 30 dogs, cats and a pig were found on her property in unsanitary conditions. Lawrence has been placed on three years' probation. A second suspect in the case, Randy Diels, is scheduled to return to Shawano County Court next month.


Man charged with beating 78-year-old woman

TOWN OF DUNN — Dane County Sheriff's deputies say there is no known connection between a 33-year-old Stoughton man and the elderly woman he's accused of beating.

The 78-year-old victim says she was in her bedroom at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday when a man entered and started hitting her. She managed to get away and called 911 from her daughter's house nearby. Deputies say they found Joshua Radewan still in the victim's bedroom and he was taken into custody. While he was being driven to the Dane County Jail, Radewan started fighting, doing damage to the squad car. He continued to resist, deputies say, when he got to the jail. The woman was treated at Stoughton Hospital.


Legislation calls for classes on abusive behavior in schools

MADISON — The sponsor of a bill calling for Wisconsin school districts to teach about dating violence is introducing the legislation for a third time.

Public Policy Coordinator Chase Tarrier, with End Domestic Abuse-Wisconsin, says unhealthy relationship behaviors can start as young as 12 or 13 years old. The new law would require school staff members to be trained to respond to abusive situations. Tarrier says 9 percent of all female students in the state experienced dating violence of a physical nature. State Representative Melissa Sargent is primary sponsor of the bill, which has been passed in a similar form in 20 other states.


Kimberly man accused of being ‘window peeper’

TOWN OF BUCHANAN — Outagamie County authorities are accusing a Kimberly man of peeping into several windows of homes in the area.

Forty-two-year-old Joseph H. Williams is charged with felony invasion of privacy. A man called deputies Sunday night to say he had captured video of the suspect peeping into a bathroom window. He said his 13-year-old daughter was taking a shower at the time. Deputies followed the footprints to other houses and eventually managed to track the suspect down to the Kimberly YMCA. Williams made a court appearance Monday. He was convicted of a similar crime in Kaukauna a several years ago.