MILWAUKEE - Prosecutors said an elderly Milwaukee man shot his cousin to death after he noticed that cigarettes were missing from a pack he left on a table in their home.
Authorities said it was the last straw in a series of disagreements between 70-year-old Orteal Tyler and his 50-year-old cousin Mark Chambers. Tyler was charged yesterday with first-degree intentional homicide, and a judge set his bond at 150-thousand dollars. Prosecutors said the two argued a number of times about money, and Chambers had made threats to Tyler. After another argument on Sunday, authorities said Chambers was lying on a couch when Tyler saw several cigarettes missing from a pack he left in the kitchen. Officials said Tyler then grabbed a rifle and shot Chambers seven times. Tyler is charged in Milwaukee County with first-degree intentional homicide. He's due back in court next Thursday, when a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to order a trial.
A man who was killed when somebody busted into his apartment in Racine is identified as 25-year-old Daniel Mayfield. Police were still looking for the gunman at last word. There was no immediate word as to whether the suspect and the victim knew each other. After Mayfield was shot, police said his roommate grabbed a gun and shot at the gunman as he ran off. It was not known if the gunman was injured.
Three members of a former Milwaukee family have pleaded innocent to stealing almost four-million-dollars. Prosecutors said 64-year-old Archie Cabello and his 39-year-old son Vincent staged robberies at armored car companies where they worked over the last 15 years. They and Archie's 58-year-old wife Marian are accused of using false names to get credit cards and money orders to try-and-hide the money stolen in the robberies. Authorities said they used part of the cash on a Hummer and various living expenses. And they allegedly filed false tax returns for several years, listing their annual incomes as low as $10,000. Officials said one of the staged hold-ups occurred in 1995, when 158-thousand was stolen from a Dunbar vehicle. Three years later, $730,000 were taken from a vault during a hold-up at Milwaukee's American Security Corporation. And another three-million was lifted in a 2005 heist in Portland Oregon, six years after the family had moved there. That was the first time the Cabellos had been considered as suspects. Assistant U.S. Attorney Claire Fay uncovered their alleged scheme, including the two prior Milwaukee hold-ups. The Cabellos were freed after their plea hearings this week in Portland. But Archie and Vincent Cabello must wear monitoring devices.
A judge in Appleton has refused to throw out a lawsuit filed against the Green Bay Catholic Diocese by two men were molested by a priest 32 years ago. The diocese wanted Circuit Judge Nancy Krueger to dismiss allegations that the church knew the Reverend John Feeney had molested others when they moved him to other parishes. One of those parishes was in Freedom, where Todd and Troy Merryfield said Feeney molested them in 1978. Judge Krueger rejected the church's claim that a statute-of-limitations in the case had expired. She said the Merryfields did not know about the church's actions until 2003, when Feeney was criminally convicted - and that's when the clock begins for the statute-of-limitations. Krueger said there's enough evidence to show that the church knew Feeney was a threat to kids when they placed him in other parishes where he got into more trouble. The Merryfields' attorney called the judge's ruling a victory which allows the case to go to a trial. A church lawyer has not commented.
A man wanted for a kidnapping-and-robbery incident was shot yesterday, after his pick-up truck rammed an approaching squad car at a credit union in Monona. Police said the suspect took a man hostage - and he was apparently trying to get money from the man's account yesterday afternoon while at the drive-thru at the UW Credit Union. An employee of the credit union thought the truck was suspicious and called police. Officials said the kidnapper and his victim were both in the vehicle, and they did not know each other. The alleged kidnapper was taken to a hospital, and his condition was not released. Also, police have not confirmed that it was an officer who shot the suspect. The credit union closed for the day after the incident. It expects to re-open today.
Prosecutors in three counties expect to find out today whether 28 sex-related charges against a former teacher will be consolidated in Manitowoc County. 32-year-old Ryan Zellner of Allouez is charged in Manitowoc, Brown, and Calumet counties. Most of the charges accuse him of making sexually-explicit calls to female students at Kiel, Green Bay Southwest, and West De Pere high schools where he had taught since 2003. By consolidating the cases, prosecutors say it would be much easier to arrange a plea deal. They said they wanted to relieve alleged victims from testifying at a trial, while making sure that Zellner spends at least some time in prison. A plea hearing is tentatively set for next Thursday.
About 250 people attended a Mass near Green Bay yesterday, when Bishop David Ricken authenticated a place where a woman was said to have seen the mother of Jesus in 1859. He said Adele Brise's visions are worth believing. And the U-S Conference of Catholic Bishops said the apparitions of Mary were the first in the nation to be sanctioned. The conference said apparitions are not considered to be church doctrine, and Catholics are not obligated to believe them. But Bishop Ricken said he was drawn to a shrine where Catholics have ventured for over 150 years to seek peace and miracles. And he had three Marian experts study the site last year. According to tradition, Mary appeared to Brise three times, and told her to pray for the conversion of sinners and teach children about the faith. Brise later started a Catholic school and an order of Franciscan women - and historical accounts said they were the only structures in the area to survive the massive Peshtigo fire of 1871. Yesterday's Mass was by invitation only. Ricken issued a decree that urges Catholics to make pilgrimages to the shrine to quote, "seek the intercession of the Blessed Mother and to draw closer to her son, Jesus Christ." The Mass was held on a Catholic holy day that's dedicated to Mary.
The second-and-final unit of Wisconsin's newest power plant is expected to start working December 28th, a month later than scheduled. We Energies was planning to activate its last coal-fired unit in Oak Creek right after Thanksgiving. But spokesman Brian Manthey said there was a problem with an auxiliary water pump. The first unit started making electricity in February. It's been up-and-down since then, but Manthey said things have gone well for the last month-and-a-half. Once the plants get humming, We Energies' chairman Gale Klappa says they'll run more efficiently than coal-fired units in the past. The utility does not know the project's final cost yet, but a consultant expects it to be about two-and-a-third billion dollars. It's the most expensive construction project in Wisconsin history. And it's part of the reason We Energies' electric customers are paying 38-percent more for electricity since 2005. The average home electric bill is expected to jump past #$100 for the first time next month. Charlie Higley of the Citizens Utility Board says he hopes the new delay in the final unit at Oak Creek will not result in even higher rates.
The state Revenue Department is asking Wisconsinites to get an important income tax form on-line instead of in the mail. Taxpayers and their preparers can now get their annual 1099-G forms at the department's Web site. The forms go to people who itemize deductions on their federal income tax returns. They list the state refunds and over-payments that must be reported on the federal forms. Revenue officials say those who sign up to get the form electronically will not get a paper copy in the mail - and that would save the agency up to 400-thousand-dollars a year in postage costs. If you want your form on-line, you can sign up by next Wednesday at the department's Web site at revenue.wi.gov.
The state DNR wants to know what people think about a plan to reduce phosphorus pollution in the Rock River basin. The plan is based on major new rules adopted this summer that regulate agricultural run-off for the first time. They also place limits on phosphorus from wastewater plants and other facilities. The DNR will hold a public meeting in Lake Mills next Thursday to explain its plans for the Rock River area. That includes the Horicon Marsh, a haven for migratory birds. People can file written comments through January 21st.
College graduates are starting their working lives with more debt than ever. The Pew Research Center said two-thirds of U.S. students who earned bachelor's degrees in 2008 borrowed to cover their tuition. That's seven-percent more than in 1996. And those grads left school 23-thousand-dollars in the red on average. That's up from $17,000 in 1996, using 2008 dollars. At UW-Madison, 49-percent of under-grads had debt when they got their diplomas, up five-percent from a dozen years earlier. And those 2008 grads had an average debt of $20,750. That's below the national average, but higher than the norm for public universities. UW financial aid director Susan Fischer says one reason for the higher debt is that students are being given more opportunities to borrow - and they're doing it whether they have the financial need or not. Tuition and student fees have gone up dramatically at Madison, by a combined nine-percent a year over the last decade. The incoming chairman of the state Assembly Colleges Committee, Republican Steve Nass of Whitewater, has proposed a four-percent annual limit on tuition and most fees at campuses statewide.