Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Lake Geneva man pleads in attempted homicide case

by Rob Ireland

January 26, 2012

ELKHORN — After attempting to kill a man by stabbing him and setting his apartment building on fire, a 33-year-old Lake Geneva man will be under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services for the next 60 years.

However, how the department will oversee him will be determined by a judge at a Feb. 23 hearing. On Jan. 25, Damen E. Leroy pleaded not guilty to first-degree attempted homicide by reason of mental disease or defect. Walworth County Circuit Court Judge John Race accepted Leroy’s plea.

Leroy, who lists a Mobile Street address in online court records, is free from custody as he awaits the hearing.

After the hearing, Leroy could be sent to a state mental-health institution or he could remain within the community under the supervision of the Department of Heath and Human Services.

Leroy’s caseworker said he is on medications, which have the effects of clarifying his thoughts. The caseworker told Race the medications “appear to work well with him.”

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 Monday’s court hearing, District Attorney Phil Koss said Johnsen told police he has known Leroy for about five years and that day the two began arguing over religion and specifically, the Book of Revelations.

After the hearing, Koss said he accepted Leroy’s plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect because Leroy is “clearly mentally ill.”

Before the Feb. 23 hearing, the Department of Heath and Human Services will generate a report regarding Leroy’s mental state.

Koss said he would wait to review the report before he makes a recommendation about Leroy’s supervision.

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 many 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.