March 20, 2014
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ELKHORN — A 25-year-old Lake Geneva man who was allegedly selling heroin in the area is reportedly close to reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors.
On March 17, Dominic D. Ecklund, appeared briefly in front of Judge Kristine E. Drettwan. Ecklund’s defense attorney, Joshua Klaff, told the judge that a plea agreement was reached in principle and asked to schedule a plea hearing on Wednesday.
After the hearing, District Attorney Daniel Necci said the agreement requires Ecklund to plead guilty to two felony charges, a count of delivering heroin as a repeater and a count of delivering controlled substance.
Necci said as part of the agreement he can recommend up to eight years of initial confinement.
He is not limited to how much extended supervision time he can recommend.
On Jan. 16, the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office filed 20 criminal charges against Ecklund, who was allegedly selling heroin and prescription medication.
Ecklund is in custody in the Walworth County jail.
In the most recent case, Ecklund has been charged with:
- Four counts of delivering heroin, as a repeater.
March 20, 2014
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ELKHORN — At first glance, Bruno Moelter’s ninth-offense operating while intoxicated case was a slam dunk for prosecutors. After all, Moelter crashed his car into a pole, slurred his words when speaking to police and fell asleep in the back of a squad car.
But there are holes in the case. At the scene he denied drinking or using drugs and welcomed a Breathalyzer test. At one point, when he was struggling to follow the officer’s instructions, he pleaded for the police to simply test his blood.
The District Attorney’s office filed felony OWI charges against Moelter, but dismissed the case last year when multiple blood screens tested negative for the presence of drugs or alcohol. However, despite the charges being dropped, Moelter’s probation was revoked and he may soon head to prison. Moelter, 56, has been in jail since the Feb. 9, 2013, crash.
Moelter’s case is complex and raises more questions that it resolves. It’s a story that highlights how the burden of proof differs from a criminal conviction and a probation revocation. It also showcases the limitations of chemical testing, because some powerful narcotics are capable of flying under the radar of a drug screen.
On Feb. 13, 2013, in an interview at the jail, Moelter confessed to his probation agent that the day of the crash he drank Jack Daniels whiskey and used his wife’s Fentanyl, a powerful pain killer.
“The testing that has happened thus far has showed that there is no alcohol and no Fentanyl in his blood,” Moelter’s attorney, Martha Thelen, said.
Complicating matters further, according to a spokeswoman from the state’s hygiene lab, a negative drug screen isn’t certain proof that a driver wasn’t under the influence of a narcotic.
She said small amounts of Fentanyl can impair a driver, but evade detection during drug screens.
On Feb. 9, 2013, Moelter left his Pell Lake home to purchase cigarettes near the Illinois border. On his way back, at around 5:45 p.m., he crashed his vehicle into a pole on County Highway H in the village of Genoa City.
A motorist, who was driving behind Moelter, told police that Moelter’s vehicle was being driven erratically before the crash. According to police reports, Moelter had bloodshot eyes, he was slow in answering a police officer’s questions and the arresting officer, Mike Lauderdale, suspected Moelter was intoxicated.
Sheila Moelter, Bruno’s wife, said that her husband feel asleep behind the wheel the evening of the crash and that he was “discombobulated” when he was being questioned by police.
Sheila said the fact that her husband’s voice was slurred shouldn’t be surprising.
“Even still now his voice is slurred,” Sheila said. “That’s how he talks.”
Sheila said she and her husband are recovering alcoholics, who take their sobriety seriously.
She strongly denies that Moelter had, or would have used drugs or alcohol.
The Regional News requested the video footage of the field sobriety tests from the Genoa City Police Department.
At the crash scene, Moelter told Lauderdale he hadn’t been drinking.
“Come on man, I can smell it,” Lauderdale said.
“Come on man, I can smell it,” Lauderdale said.
“Smell it?” Moelter responded.
“Yeah, how much have you had? It’s better just to be honest,” Lauderdale said.
“I haven’t had a drink in 13 years, buddy,” Moelter said.
Another officer on the scene yelled at Moelter “I’m not going to ask you Bruno, knock it off. Okay. Listen to him. We are not here to deal with it. We are going to help you out...no buddy.”
Lauderdale wanted to conduct field sobriety tests at the crash scene, but Moelter said he had difficulty seeing.
“Give me a Breathalyzer, whatever,” Moelter said.
Eventually, Lauderdale gave Moelter a Breathalyzer, which had a result of 0.0.
Lauderdale also asked Moelter several times if he hit his head or was injured in the crash. Lauderdale also asked him when was the last time he slept. Moelter responded it had been a couple of days.
A firefighter on the scene told Lauderdale that he knew Moelter, and that Moelter hadn’t had a drink in years.
District Attorney files 8 charges after heroin bustMarch 13, 2014
ELKHORN — A Burlington man faces more than 100 years imprisonment after he was arrested with more than 100 grams of heroin.
Phillip J. Zadurski, 625 Meadow Lane Apt. 7, was arrested on Feb. 19 in East Troy.
After Zadurski’s arrest, Walworth County law enforcement officials said the 184 grams of heroin allegedly found on Zadurski might be the largest quantity of the drug yielded in a single arrest in more than decade.
During Zadurski’s initial bail bond hearing, District Attorney Daniel Necci said the street value of the heroin was around $200,000.
Zadurski is being held in the Walworth County jail in lieu of a $100,000 cash bond.
Recently, the Walworth County District Attorney’s office officially charged Zadurski with eight criminal charges.
Below are the charges and the maximum penalties:
- Possession of heroin (in an amount greater than 50 grams) with intent to deliver, as a second or subsequent offense. This charge carries a maximum penalty of 46 years imprisonment and $100,000 in fines.
Man gets prison for fifth drunken driving offenseMarch 06, 2014
A Pell Lake man was sentenced to more than three years in prison on Feb. 18 for fifth-offense drunken driving, bail jumping and violating a restraining order.
Since 2012, the Walworth County District Attorney’s office filed four different criminal complaints against Clinton H. St. Onge, 41, W811 Myrtle Road.
The first complaint was for fifth-offense drunken driving.
Business owner faces felony chargesFebruary 27, 2014
ELKHORN — A Genoa City business owner is accused of stealing about $11,000 from an elderly man who suffers from dementia.
William B. Nettleton of McHenry, Ill., has been charged with felony theft, in an amount greater than $10,000, and misdemeanor obstructing an officer.
Nettleton, 51, owns a trucking company in Genoa City. If convicted of the felony, Nettleton faces up to 10 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines.
Another heroin arrestFebruary 27, 2014
ELKHORN — A Burlington man was arrested Feb. 19 with 184 grams of suspected heroin outside an East Troy gas station.
Police also report recovering 127 grams of marijuana, more than 100 grams of psilocybin mushrooms and 54 prescription narcotic pills.
Several Walworth County law enforcement officials said that this is likely the largest heroin bust in the county in the last decade.
Phillip Zadurski, 42, is being held in the Walworth County jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.
During a bail hearing on Feb. 20, District Attorney Daniel Necci said police were called to the gas station to check on a woman’s welfare.
Necci said police eventually searched Zadurski and found narcotics. In addition to the large amount of the drugs, police allegedly also found several smaller bags of heroin and cocaine.
They also allegedly found crack and heroin paraphernalia and $1,325.
During the court hearing, Necci said Zadurski has an extensive criminal history.
Online court records indicate Zadurski has a 2012 conviction in Milwaukee County for felony possession of marijuana, as a second or subsequent offense.
In 2008, in Walworth County, he was sentenced to prison for battery and disorderly conduct.
During the bail hearing, TJ Wendell, an intern working under the supervision of attorney Julia May, said that Zadurski has lived his entire life in southeastern Wisconsin and had no money to post bond.
Necci responded by saying the heroin had a “street value of just under $200,000.”
Zadurski is next due in court on Feb. 27 in front of Judge David Reddy.
After the hearing, Necci said he has “no reason to believe at this time” that Zadurski is connected to the heroin ring that was uncovered in the Lake Geneva and Delavan areas earlier this month.
In the past two weeks, police have arrested eight people in connection with an alleged heroin-distribution ring.
In the previous arrests, police alleged that Jamaal T. Shellie, 33, Waukegan, Ill., was the ring leader of the heroin operation and that he enlisted other people to help him sell the drug.
According to the criminal complaints filed against Shellie and others:
On Jan. 14, a confidential informant was given $120 to purchase heroin from a drug dealer he knew as “Major.”
“Major” was later identified as Shellie through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Administration records. On Jan. 14, the informant purchased 0.74 grams of heroin from Shellie in Lake Geneva.
On Jan. 15, the informant was given $240 to purchase heroin from Christina Lavender. Lavender, 28, Delavan, was also arrested last week. She has been formally charged with two felony counts of delivering heroin.
The informant told the drug unit that during the drug sale, Lavender was on the phone with Shellie. After the sale, the informant called Shellie, who said his girls were “good.”
On Jan. 16, the informant bought 2.17 grams of heroin from Shellie for $240 near Elkhorn High School. The informant bought $120 of heroin from Shellie on Jan. 21 and $120 of the drug on Jan. 28. Both transactions allegedly occurred in the city of Delavan. Lavender was charged in connection with this purchase as well. She allegedly drove Shellie to the deal.
On Feb. 4, the drug unit gave the informant $480 and the informant bought 4.22 grams of heroin from Shellie in Lake Geneva. Jacob L. Crews, 25, Lake Geneva allegedly drove Shellie to the deal.
Crews has been charged with one count of delivering heroin, as a party to a crime.
On Feb. 7, the informant was given another $480 and bought 3.8 grams of heroin from Shellie at a hotel in Lake Geneva.
At the hotel, police arrested Crews, who was leaving the hotel room where Shellie was reportedly selling drugs. Crews told police that Shellie sells heroin “all day, all night, seven days a week,” at different hotels throughout the area.
In 2005, in Lake County, Ill., Shellie was convicted of manufacturing/delivering cocaine.
Trisha J. Mohr, 34, Delavan, was also charged with two counts of delivering heroin, as a party to a crime.
On Jan. 21 and Jan. 28, Mohr allegedly drove Shellie to sell heroin to a confidential informant. On both dates, the informant allegedly bought $120 worth of heroin from Shellie who was allegedly driven to the deal by Mohr.
After Shellie was arrested on Feb. 7, police believe that Matthew Brown, 31, Waukegan, Ill., took over the heroin operation.
Brown has been charged with two counts of delivering heroin as a second or subsequent offense. On Feb. 11, an undercover officer with the Walworth County drug unit purchased $120 in heroin from Brown. On Feb. 12, the officer bought $420 worth of heroin from Brown.
Woman gets prison for role in drive-byFebruary 27, 2014
A 28-year-old Elgin, Ill., woman will spend two years in prison for her role in a January 2013 drive-by shooting in Elkhorn.
Sarah M. Brittain pleaded guilty to a felony charge of first-degree recklessly endangering safety. She was identified as the driver in the shooting.
On Feb. 18, Judge David Reddy also sentenced Brittain to two years of extended supervision.
Brittain and three others were arrested in connection with the incident.
Cameron M. Casillas, 18, of Milwaukee, and Rochele M. Sorg, 20, of Elkhorn, both have been charged in connection with the shooting.
Sorg is scheduled for a jury trial in July. Casillas pleaded guilty to a felony charge of discharging a firearm at a building and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 31.
The third person who was arrested was Alfredo Villarreal, 18, Janesville. After his arrest, Villarreal was transported to Aurora Lakeland Medical Center for an undisclosed ailment.
According to police documents, a Walworth County Sheriff’s deputy found Villarreal in his jail cell laying on the floor with a large amount of blood and sputum in the cell. The deputy reported seeing a large laceration on the top of Villarreal’s head.
Villarreal was transported to the hospital, where he attacked a deputy who was guarding him. The deputy shot and killed Villarreal.
After the shooting, county prosecutors said Villarreal would have been charged in connection with the shooting had he not been killed.
According to the criminal complaint:
On Jan. 19, 2013, at 7:50 p.m. officers went to a residence for a report of shots fired at a home.
Police spoke to Alexander Maurizzi and Flavio Giovanni Perez. Maurizzi said he believed the shooting was a retaliation because he had charges dismissed against him for felony child abuse.
The charges were reportedly filed because of a fight Maurizzi had with Villarreal.
Casillas didn’t show up to a Jan. 14 court proceeding and the prosecutor moved to dismiss the case.
On the street outside the home, Elkhorn Police Officer Robert Rayfield located shell casings.
Bullet holes were located at a number of spots in the home. A bullet entered Maurizzi’s bedroom, which he occupied at the time of the shooting. Three other people were also in the home when the shots were fired.
That night police spoke to Villarreal who said he was with his girlfriend during the shooting.
However, police had previously spoken to Villarreal’s girlfriend, who said he was not with her at the time of the shooting.
Villarreal then told police he had actually been with Martin Villarreal and Casillas.
On Jan. 24, Sorg told police that Brittain and Casillas picked her up from her home and then they picked up Alfredo Villarreal from his girlfriend’s house.
The four of them talked about shooting at Maurizzi’s home. Villarreal was then dropped back off at his girlfriend’s home.
In the car, Casillas tried shooting the gun at Maurizzi’s house, but it didn’t fire. The group then picked up Alfredo and Martin Villarreal. Martin Villarreal has not been charged in the shooting.
Sorg told police that Alfredo Villarreal fired the gun out of the window at Maurizzi’s house and Brittain drove them away.
Martin Villarreal told police that in the car his window went down without him rolling it down. Martin Villarreal said he then ducked down and Alfredo Villarreal shot the gun out the window at Maurizzi’s home.
Sorg told police that they returned to her home in Elkhorn and Villarreal and Casillas wiped the prints off the gun. Casillas told Sorg he buried the firearm in a backyard.
LG employee arrested for theftFebruary 20, 2014
A city of Lake Geneva employee was arrested last week in connection with the theft of a trailer.
The employee was arrested Feb. 11 on charges of theft under $2,500 and felony misconduct in office.
More arrests expected in drug bustFebruary 20, 2014
ELKHORN — In the last two weeks, the Walworth County Sheriff Department’s Drug Unit arrested eight people in connection with a heroin distribution ring in the Lake Geneva and Delavan areas.
Authorities arrested Jamaal T. Shellie, 33, Waukegan, Ill., on Feb. 7, and he has been charged with seven counts of delivering heroin. Law enforcement officials have said that Shellie was the ringleader of the heroin ring. He is currently in custody in the Walworth County jail in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond.
Probation violation?February 20, 2014
ELKHORN — An East Troy mom, whose twin infants drowned in a bathtub in September 2011, was arrested last month on drug charges, and, despite being on probation, is not in custody.
Delavan man gets probation for burglary chargesFebruary 13, 2014
ELKHORN — A man who was linked to three area burglaries through DNA evidence was sentenced on Feb. 7 to probation.
Anthony J. Chiapusio, 26, 5113 Highway 50, Delavan, pleaded guilty to one count of burglary. Two additional felony burglary charges were dismissed and read into the record.
The DNA evidence linked Chiapusio to burglaries that occurred in 2010 and 2011. When he was arrested for those burglaries, Chiapusio was on probation for other burglaries.
In 2012, Chiapusio was convicted of three counts of felony burglary, one count of burglary while arming himself with a dangerous weapon and one count of fleeing.
Chiapusio was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to serve one year in the county jail with work-release privileges.
His sentence on Feb. 7, included four years of probation. A six month jail sentence was stayed, which means he will only serve the sentence if he violates the terms of his probation.
According to the criminal complaint:
On Jan. 23, 2010, police investigated a burglary in the town of Darien. On the scene, police found a cigarette butt that didn’t belong to the owners.
On Oct. 26, 2011, a town of Whitewater home was burglarized. A television and a blue ray player had been reported stolen.
An alcohol bottle was found on the scene, which police collected as evidence.
On Aug. 26, 2011, police investigated a burglary in the town of Linn.
The homeowner reported that three televisions, a bow, arrows and other items had been stolen.
It was apparent in the home that someone had used the rest room, and police collected a DNA sample from the bathroom.
The state crime lab reviewed the three DNA samples, and the samples matched Chiapusio’s DNA.
Theft from mother lands man in prisonFebruary 13, 2014
ELKHORN — A Montana man, who was convicted of stealing more than $30,000 from his elderly mother, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Feb. 6 by Judge David Reddy.
On Dec. 4, Michael Bryzek, 44, was found guilty of theft from a business setting in an amount that is more than $10,000. Reddy also sentenced Bryzek to 18 months of extended supervision and ordered him to repay all of the stolen money.
Bryzek’s attorney, Leslie Johnson, maintains that his client acted within the legal boundaries of being his mother’s power of attorney. Johnson told Reddy that he will appeal Bryzek’s conviction.
In 1996, Bryzek’s mother appointed him to become her power of attorney. In the legal document, Bryzek’s mother included a clause that gave him the right to provide himself with gifts.
“Every attorney who drafts a power of attorney is putting their client at risk,” Johnson said during the sentencing hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo argued that Bryzek abused his rights as a power of attorney.
“This is a vicious crime in that the victim is elderly and vulnerable,” Donohoo argued. “His mother trusted him and that was abused and exploited.”
According to bank documents that were entered into evidence during the jury trial, between May 2007 and November 2010 Bryzek made more than 200 transactions that weren’t used for his mother’s benefit.
Those transactions included purchases at hardware stores, pharmacies, grocery stores and checks made out to cash.
A number of checks were made out to a pharmacy, and Bryzek’s mother had one prescription filled at that pharmacy during the time of the thefts.
“He didn’t go out and take a vacation in the Caribbean or buy a fancy new car,” Johnson said. “He bought insulin, he bought food and he got his truck fixed.”
Johnson argued that prosecutors and police twisted the law to convict his client.
“I don’t think that’s the way the law is suppose to work,” Johnson said. “I don’t think the law is a game.”
Johnson said the situation reminded him of the Bob Dylan song “Hurricane.”
“(I) Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game,” Johnson said while quoting Dylan.
Donohoo said the case went to a jury trial and that the jury deliberated for 90 minutes before finding Bryzek guilty.
“He was not wrongly convicted,” she said.
Donohoo also argued that with the population aging it is important to send a message that abuse on the elderly won’t be tolerated.
“All of us in this room will be in this victim’s position someday, where we need someone to take care of us,” Donohoo said.
Before sentencing Bryzek, Reddy said he understood Johnson’s position.
However, he said the jury instructions were carefully crafted to ensure that the jurors had to find that Bryzek acted outside of the “good faith scope” of his authority.
When delivering his sentence, Reddy said Bryzek “violated the trust given to him by his mother”
Family and friends
During the hearing, Bryzek’s bother, Steve, said his brother did nothing wrong. Steve said that Michael took care of his mother and waited on her hand and foot. Bryzek’s mother didn’t attend the hearing. Steve Bryzek said he believes that his mother included the clause in the power of attorney document that allowed for gifts because she knew how much work it was to take care of an elderly person.
“He always put her needs first,” Steve Bryzek said. “He always has done what is best for her.”
Steve testified during his brother’s jury trial. Donohoo said it is the state’s position that Steve gave “false testimony” during the trial.
Not all of Michael’s brothers are standing by their sibling. Another brother, Frank, asked Reddy to give his brother the maximum sentence.
Attorney Howard Schoenfeld said he is a fishing buddy of Michael Bryzek. Schoenfeld said that Michael Bryzek took good care of his mother.
“Putting this man in prison or incarcerating him would not be justice,” Schoenfeld said.
When Michael Bryzek made his statement, he said he regretted not better explaining his mother’s finances to other family members.