A 73-year-old man from the Superior area will spend three years in prison for his ninth drunk driving conviction. Norman Erickson of Lake Nebagamon must also spend three years under extended supervision once he's no longer behind bars. He was arrested after his pick-up truck drove into a ditch in December of 2010. He admitted drinking that day - but he wasn't sure how he ended up in the ditch.
A Madison man was sentenced yesterday to 45 years in prison for molesting children as young as toddlers. 24-year-old Michael Speiss had pleaded no contest to seven felony charges that included sexual assault, child sexploitation, and possessing child pornography. Twenty-nine other counts were dropped in a plea bargain. Attorneys on both sides recommended a 25-year prison term, but Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese added 20 more years. She told Speiss she could not risk letting him molest another child again. Prosecutors said he sexually assaulted five boys ranging from toddlers to pre-teens. Authorities said Speiss was stopped by police for drunk driving in October of 2010 - and child pornography and children's underwear were found in his vehicle. Investigators later searched Speiss's cameras and computers - and they found over a half-million images of child porn. In the meantime, victims' parents called police after reading news accounts of the investigation.
A Manitowoc woman has pleaded innocent to killing three people with her van while driving drunk. 44-year-old Becky Holly entered pleas to 10 criminal charges yesterday, right after a judge found enough evidence to put her on trial. Authorities said Holly's van left a road last October near Two Rivers, careened down an embankment, and struck three people who were standing on a lawn while watching a relative's roofing project. 79-year-old Lawrence Gerroll and his 75-year-old wife LouAnn were killed, along with their 48-year-old daughter Joan Gerroll. Holly's six-year-old son slightly tore a heart valve in the crash. Authorities said the driver's blood alcohol level was point -209, more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit of point-zero-eight. Attorneys will meet with the judge on May eighth to schedule further proceedings.
An Appleton woman has been ordered to stand trial for allegedly killing her estranged husband at a hotel almost two months ago. 34-year-old Mastella Jackson is scheduled to enter a plea on May fourth to a charge of first-degree intentional homicide. She's accused of killing 41-year-old Derrick Whitlow, who was found dead at a hotel in the town of Grand Chute on February 21st with about 25 stab wounds. A police detective testified that Jackson did not mean to kill Whitlow - and she only brought a knife for protection when she went to talk to him at a hotel where he had been staying. The couple and their two children previously lived together at a home they rented in Appleton. The detective said Whitlow had threatened her and one of the children, and destroyed family keep-sakes. A doctor who conducted an autopsy said Whitlow appeared to be defending himself against the attack - and suffered wounds to his head, neck, arms, and chest. Jackson remains in jail under a half-million-dollar bond. She's also charged with misdemeanor bail jumping.