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Summit man charged with homicide in father's death

Jan. 24, 2014 12:30 p.m. |

Shawn T. Witt was charged Friday in Waukesha County Circuit Court with first-degree intentional homicide, accused of killing his 60-year-old father at their shared home in Summit.
Witt, 27, has also been charged with narcotic drug possession, two counts of misdemeanor theft, two counts of violating a restraining order, and two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping.
He is currently being held in Waukesha County Jail on a $1 million cash bond. 
According to the criminal complaint, Summit Police were dispatched at about 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 to check in on the well-being of James Witt, Jr., who resided at 34825 Elm St. 
Officers were greeted at the residence by Shawn Witt, who told police his father had “gone up north,” the complaint states. Also present were two friends of Shawn Witt, who are not currently facing charges related to the incident. 
Shawn Witt had been accused the day before of beating his father after an altercation at the residence. He was charged with battery and disorderly conduct and released on a $1,500 signature bond on the condition that he have no contact with his father. 
James Witt had also requested a temporary restraining order. 
“He yells at me all the time because I made him get a job,” James Witt wrote in the request. “I fear for my life. He said he is taking over the house and I cannot stop him.”
James Witt said his son had once put electrical wires to his head in an attempt to kill him.
The restraining order was granted and Shawn Witt was served the order in jail.
According to the complaint, officers decided to search the residence to make sure everything was all right. They found James Witt’s body in the basement, wrapped in a blanket. Next to his body was a rifle. 
Shawn Witt told police in the complaint that he had gone back to his father’s house after being released from jail. He claimed that his father had come at him with a knife and he shot him twice in self-defense. 
No knife described by Shawn Witt was found at the residence, the complaint states.
He told police in the complaint that he had lied to his friends and said his father committed suicide. The friends helped him burn a couch that had blood on it and they then went to Milwaukee to sell items belonging to James Witt. The money made from the sale was used to purchase heroin, Shawn Witt said.
Police later learned that James Witt’s debit card was used at a Kwik-Trip gas station in Oconomowoc. Shawn Witt admitted to using the card after he killed his father, the complaint states.
Witt later changed his statement and said he may have shot his father three times, according to the complaint. He said James Witt seemed to be in pain, “so he decided to put him out of his misery and shot him in the head.”
A medical examiner concluded that Witt was shot once in the left buttocks and once in the abdomen, but both wounds were survivable. The gunshot wound to the head was the fatal wound, the complaint states.
Assistant District Attorney Lesli Boese said at a news conference on Friday, Jan. 24, that James Witt did the right thing in requesting the restraining order.
“We tell people it is a piece of paper,” she said. “They still need to be diligent. We offer them resources and we do the best we can.”
Shawn Witt had previously been convicted in Jefferson County of operating while intoxicated on three separate occasions, according to court records. 
The Waukesha County Sheriffs Department worked with the Summit Police Department to investigate James Witt’s death. Dan Trawicki commended the Summit Police Department on its response to the incident at the news conference. 
Shawn Witt is expected to appear at a court hearing on Jan. 30

Learning Never Ends coming to Arrowhead in March

6:00 p.m. |  Want to learn something new in a relatively short time? Arrowhead's Learning Never Ends does just that.

The program, in its second year, takes place March 25 and offers a variety of classes for adults. Read our preview story here.

The event is free. Register at

Portions of Lake Country bike trail in Delafield, Pewaukee closing soon

2:55 p.m. | Closures in Delafield and Pewaukee along the Lake Country Bike Trail are imminent.

Partial closures have occurred intermittently since August, when the American Transmission Company (ATC) first announced it would be removing and replacing high-voltage transmission poles and wires along the trail as part of a larger effort called the Quad County Electric Reliability Project.

The closures are anticipated to begin in early March.

The impending vegetation clearing and restoration work will shut down a portion of the trail stretching from Highway P to Glen Cove Road until April or May. Alissa Braatz, an ATC corporate communications officer, said in an email that the work is weather dependent and so the time line for completion may fluctuate if Wisconsin experiences another long winter.

Braatz said updated signs warning Lake Country residents of the impending closures have been posted at various entry points along the trail, and she said that ATC is additionally sending out informational postcards explaining the closures to residents who live nearby the Glen Cove Road portion of the trail.

» Read Full Article

Eagle detachment requests tossed out by Palmyra-Eagle school board

Feb. 25, 2015 11:57 p.m. | Despite two of five petitions to detach from the Palmyra-Eagle Area School District and attach to the Mukwonago Area School District being determined as invalid, the P-EASD school board unanimously denied all five requests to detach on Feb. 25. 

Following more than two hours of presentations from petitioners for the detachment, administrators and counsel for the district, along with resident comments against the detachment, the board came out of closed session and shared financial information that clinched board members decisions on the matter. 

Already staring at a potential loss of more than $1 million in revenue by 2018-19, if the five detachments were to go through, a finance report from Ehlers Group indicated P-EASD could be stuck paying Mukwonago between $3 and $7 million, depending on how assets and liabilities would be distributed. 

That came down to a "game changer" that threatened the livelihood of the Palmyra-Eagle district for board member Tom Novak and the rest of the board, as each resolution to deny the petitions was unanimously approved. 

"This is it. We own it now," board President Scott Hoff told the crowd standing to applaud school board members in the middle school gymnasium. 

» Read Full Article

Hearing set for Village Square living center

Feb. 25, 2015 10:50 p.m. |  City of Delafield - A public hearing on a proposed senior living center at the Village Square shopping center has been tenatively scheduled for March 25 even though one member of the plan commission says it is "putting the cart before the horse" and another commissioner described it as "an academic exercise."

Milwaukee based Heritage Senior Living is proposing 124 units of independent living, assisted living and memory care facilities in two buildings located on about five acres on the west side of the shopping center near the intersection of Highways 83 and 16.

City officials have acknowledged that the project cannot be approved unless United Properties, the owners of trhe shopping center, and the city can reach an agreement to amend an out of court settlement that resolved zoning disputes over the shopping center about 10 years ago.

However,  Mayor Michele DeYoe told the commissioners that they should review the proposal and schedule a public hearing without taking into consideration the terms of the settlement agreement.

She said it was up to the Common Council to either amend or enforce the agreement.

» Read Full Article

Hartland man charged for alleged role in recent robbery of Waukesha bank

Feb. 25, 2015 4:57 p.m. | Jason Barnhill, one of two men suspected of holding up a Waukesha bank, was charged this afternoon in Waukesha County Circuit Court for crimes related to the alleged robbery.

Barnhill, 33, of Hartland, was charged as party to a crime of robbery of a financial institution and with misdemeanor bail jumping. He faces up to more than 40 years behind bars and $110,000 in fines if convicted.

Barnhill's alleged accomplice in the heist, 26-year-old Lance Keota, was arrested earlier this week and will appear in court tomorrow, but has not been formally charged, according to Waukesha police.

According to the criminal complaint, Barnhill and Keota robbed the Associated Bank, on 100 E. Sunset Drive in the city of Waukesha, at gunpoint last Friday, Feb. 20. Police later discovered the weapon used by the men was an airsoft gun, not a real firearm.

Bank employees said in the complaint that both men entered the bank around 10:30 a.m. dressed in dark clothes and wearing masks. One of the suspects, identified in the complaint as Keota, then jumped up over the bank counter and stole nearly $5,500 from a teller's drawer.

» Read Full Article

Complaint: Man drank almost half a liter of vodka, punched girlfriend in the face

Feb. 25, 2015 2:10 p.m. | City of Oconomowoc — A 25-year-old Oconomowoc man allegedly drank nearly a half liter of vodka, got into an argument with his girlfriend and punched her in the face.

Grant Bunchkowski, 335 W. Wisconsin Ave., was charged Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with substantial battery and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, both domestic abuse offenses. He faces up to nearly four years behind bars and $11,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, police responded on Feb. 23 to Bunchkowski's residence after receiving a call from the victim's mother in which she claimed Bunchkowski assaulted her daughter.

Officers, when they arrived, noticed the the victim was holding a paper towel to her lips and had blood dripping down her mouth and forearm, the complaint said. She told police she and Bunchkowski got into a heated argument that involved both of them yelling, swearing at and pushing each other.

The argument ended abruptly when Bunchkowski punched his girlfriend in the mouth, nearly knocking out her two front teeth and chipping one of them, the complaint said.

» Read Full Article

Free workshops at Mukwonago, Eagle libraries will teach eco-friendly methods

Feb. 25, 2015 1:22 p.m. | The Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use - Land Resources staff are offering free public workshops on eco-friendly methods at the Alice Baker and Mukwonago Community libraries.

A Clean Water, Healthy Lawn workshop will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 9, at the Alice Baker Library, 820 E. Main St., Eagle. This workshop will cover lawn care and watering, as well as how to incorporate features like rain barrels and rain gardens into your landscape. Practices covered in this workshop are not only friendly to local lakes and rivers, but to pets and children as well.

A Green Cleaning workshop will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at the Mukwonago Community Library, 511 Division St. At this workshop, participants will find out what common household ingredients can be used to keep your home healthy, clean, and safe. Find out what really works and which products on the market pass as "green." Attendees will "make and take" a Creamy Soft Scrub to try at home.

For more information call (262) 896-8300 or visit or

Check out the renovated Arrowhead basketball locker rooms

Feb. 25, 2015 11:49 a.m. |  The Arrowhead School Board approved the funding last August for the renovation of the North Campus girls and boys basketball locker rooms.

Check out our story and online gallery here.

OHS 10th Annual Jazz Dance on Friday

Feb. 25, 2015 10:45 a.m. |  Grab your dancing shoes and head out to Olympia Resort to enjoy the 10th Annual Oconomowoc High School Band Aids Jazz Dance fundraiser.

  Held this  Friday, Feb. 27,   the event has a  Roaring 20s  theme and attendees are encouraged to dress for the era.

  The event  runs from  6  to 10:30 p.m., with doors opening a half-hour beforehand. Attendees will enjoy food, silent auction and photo booth as well.

Tickets are available in advance for a reduced cost.  Students and seniors are $5, $7 at the door; Adults are $8 or $10 at the door.  Tables can be reserved for larger groups.  Each table seats 10 people and includes admission.  For $200 you are guaranteed a table and chairs; this event has limited seating.  Tickets are available at Books and Co or Piggly Wiggly.  For table reservations, contact Geri Kellen at or (414) 640-0593.  

 More information on this event will be in tomorrow's Oconomowoc Focus. 

Mukwonago man shot in face while hunting

Feb. 25, 2015 9:32 a.m. | Town of Leroy — A 43-year-old Mukwonago man was injured in a hunting accident Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the town of Leroy.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Office responded to N11077 Dairy Road at 1:40 p.m. and discovered the man was shot in the face with a bird shot fired from a shotgun. The man who fired the shotgun is a 58-year-old Richfield man.

Both men were hunting pheasants on private land when the accident occurred, according to a news release from the Dodge County Sheriff's Office.

The investigation showed the Richfield man shot at a flying pheasant and struck the other hunter who was 40 to 50 yards away. The Mukwonago man received non-life threatening injuries to his face and was transported by ambulance to the Aurora Medical Center in Hartford.

All hunters were wearing orange hats and vests, the news release said.

» Read Full Article

New cancer center nearly complete

Feb. 24, 2015 2:24 p.m. |  Have you heard about ProHealth Care's new $100 million cancer center in Pewaukee? Take a look at our story here.

The facility is expected to open in the summer and is located just north of I-94 and on Highway 164.

Complaint: Sussex woman threw a knife at her husband during argument

Feb. 24, 2015 11:20 a.m. | Village of Sussex — A 30-year-old Sussex woman allegedly threw a kitchen knife at her husband that struck the man and sliced open his abdomen during an argument.

Katherine Minturn, N66 W23430 Linda Drive, was charged on Monday, Feb. 23, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with second-degree recklessly endangering safety and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, use of a dangerous weapon — both domestic abuse offenses.

According to the criminal complaint, police responded early in the morning on Feb. 21 to the couple's home after receiving a report of a domestic disturbance in progress. Katherine Minturn's husband, Samuel, had contacted police and told them his wife was "freaking out."

Samuel Mintun said in the complaint that his wife had attacked him with a knife during an argument about Katherine's perceived marital infidelity. Samuel Minturn, out of fear, locked himself in the bathroom and dialed 9-1-1.

Police discovered an inch-long puncture wound on Samuel Minturn's abdomen while questioning him about the incident, the complaint said.

» Read Full Article

Mukwonago School Board approves Eagle detachment petitions

Feb. 23, 2015 10:12 p.m. | Purple-shirted supporters held signs touting Palmyra-Eagle Area School District spirit as members of the Mukwonago Area School District Board entered the Park View Middle School cafeteria again, following a one-hour closed session on Feb. 23.

Within a few minutes, however, the signs dropped and the Palmyra-Eagle supporters left in silence after the MASD board approved all five petitions for small territory detachments from P-EASD to attach to the Mukwonago district.

Motions to approve each petition went straight to vote, passing 5-3, with board member Joanne Newberry abstaining. Board members Todd Clemens, Don Cox and Jeff Voelkel voted against accepting the petitions.

The issue now falls in the hands of the P-EASD school board, which meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, to hear from the petitioners, presenting their reasons for the proposed small territory detachments. The meeting will be held in the Palmyra-Eagle Middle School gymnasium, 123 Burr Oak Street, Palmyra.

According to the P-EASD website, after petitioners complete their presentation, the board may receive information from P-EASD administration and citizens against the petitions.

» Read Full Article

Hamilton schools celebrate Youth Art Month with art show at Pauline Haass Public Library

Feb. 23, 2015 9:17 p.m. |  In celebration of Youth Art Month, artwork of students throughout the Hamilton School District will be on display during March at the Pauline Haass Public Library, located at Library, N64 W23820 Main St., Sussex. The public is invited to view the artwork during regular library hours.

A reception honoring the artists and their teachers, held in the library, will be open to the public from 4 p.m. to on March 5. During the reception art activities will be offered in the Youth Services area. The Friends of the Pauline Haass Public Library will provide refreshments.

Youth Art Month is celebrated each year to emphasize the value of art education for all children and to encourage public support for quality school art programs. It began in 1961 as Children’s Art Month with support from the nonprofit Crayon, Water Color and Craft Institute and the National Art Education Association.

Hartland village board hears residents' thoughts on proposed Four Winds West subdivision

Feb. 23, 2015 9:06 p.m. | Village of Hartland - Residents once again filled the seats inside the village hall board room to sit in on and participate in discussion about the proposed Four Winds West subdivision.

The preliminary plat for the project was listed on the board's Feb. 23 meeting agenda for discussion purposes only, but a change in land use designation and a rezoning amendment along with an annexation proposal associated with the development all received unanimous board approval.

Hartland and town of Merton residents with properties just to the west of proposed building site -- which is northwest of Highways K and E -- who oppose the project again turned out in force to voice their objections to the development.

Their complaints about the project focused on a perceived reduction in their property values, increased traffic along nearby roadways, a potentially adverse effect on views of the surrounding landscape and concerns about an adequate water supply.

Some opponents were  concerned that the addition of the 48 homes proposed for Four Winds West would significantly affect the draw on wells in the area, which already serve at least two subdivisions nearby.

» Read Full Article

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