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Attempted murderer will remain under community supervision

February 23, 2012 | 03:46 PM
ELKHORN —An attempted murderer, who cut another man's throat and set an apartment building on fire, will remain under community supervision for the next six decades, Judge John Race ruled Thursday afternoon.

On. Jan. 25, Damen E. Leroy, 33, Lake Geneva, pleaded not guilty to first-degree attempted homicide by reason of mental disease or defect. During that hearing, Race placed Leroy under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services. With this plea, Leroy was found guilty of actually committing the Crimes, but not legally responsible.

On Feb. 23, Race had a choice between placing Leroy in a mental health institution or leaving him under community supervision. At the recommendations of defense attorney Valerian Powell, District Attorney Phil Koss and a mental health report generated by the Department of Health and Human Services, Race placed Leroy under community supervision.

Leroy was arrested Dec. 5, 2009, after city of Delavan police were dispatched to an apartment building fire on Tyrell Court. When police arrived, they met Arthur Johnsen, who was covered in blood, according to the criminal complaint.

During the Jan. 25 court hearing, Koss said Johnsen told police he has known Leroy for about five years and that day the two began arguing over religion, specifically the Book of Revelations.

After the hearing, Koss explained his reasons for recommending community supervision.

"The report (generated by the state) discusses at length how well he is doing," he said.

Koss also said Leroy has a support system at home, and that this appears to be an isolated incident. Powell also said Leroy is doing well in the community.

"He has shown he is able to hold down a job, he actually cleans banks," Powell said.

Shortly after the incident, Leroy was charged with attempted first-degree homicide and arson. On Nov. 23, 2010, the charges against Leroy were dismissed after he was found not competent, and not likely to become competent, to stand trial. However, on March 30, 2011, Koss refiled the charges after learning Leroy was released from a mental health institution.

Leroy suffers from schizophrenia and is undergoing treatment.

Leroy's physical appearance has also changed since the incident. In a mug shot taken after his arrest, Leroy appears haggard.

However, during both his January and February court appearance Leroy was clean shaven and had his hair back in a pony tail.

Koss said Leroy appears to have benefited from the hospitilization and treatment that occurred after the first set of charges were dismissed.

Leroy will next appear in court on March 30 when Race will determine the conditions of his community supervision. Race is allowing Leroy to leave the state to attend church services in Illinois.

According to the criminal complaint:

Inside Johnsen's apartment, police found an 11-inch long knife with blood stains on it. The apartment was on fire.

The Delavan Fire Department was able to extinguish the fire, which didn't spread beyond Johnsen's apartment.

However, police and firefighters had to help residents leave the building because many were disabled and elderly.

City of Lake Geneva police arrested the defendant, who was then questioned by the city of Delavan police.

"I stabbed him, I was trying to kill him, and I should go to prison," he said.

Leroy said Johnsen was pretending to be his friend, but he had caught him in lies. He told police he drove to Johnsen's apartment with the intent of stabbing and killing him and that he brought a "Rambo" knife with him.

Leroy said when he arrived at Johnsen's apartment, he stabbed him and punched him in the face several times.


Tags: Crime, Top of page

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