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Kenosha businessman slain in Jamaica; Joint Finance mulls tax cut, plus more state news

MAUSTON -- A Wisconsin Air National Guard member is jailed under a $2 million bond after being charged with killing a woman and wounding another in a shooting in Mauston.

Cody Treul, 29, is accused of killing Gayle Howland, also 29, and Ebony Lasher, 23, both of Mauston.

Lasher was in critical condition at last word at UW Hospital in Madison.

The shootings happened early Friday in the outdoor smoking area at P.J.'s Bar & Grill.

Prosecutors said Treul also pointed his gun at a man in the smoking area. Authorities have not said what the motives were.

Treul appeared by video from his jail cell at a bond hearing Monday on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, attempted homicide and reckless endangerment.

A state military affairs spokesman told WKOW TV in Madison that Treul has been a "model airman" in his decade-long career with the Air Guard and the Air Force. He's currently stationed at Volk Field in Juneau County and has served at an Air Force base in Georgia. Officials said he works with payroll and other military finances, and the only blemish in his military record was a drunken driving conviction in 2008.

Online court records show that Treul has a court hearing set for Thursday on a motion request. His formal initial appearance is set June 19.


Cost Cutter chain owner killed by crossfire in Jamaica

KENOSHA -- A Kenosha businessman was shot to death in Jamaica after he got caught in a cross-fire between police and a group of robbers on Saturday.

David Barnes, 52, was killed Saturday in western Jamaica. He owns Cost Cutters hair salons in Kenosha, Racine, Burlington and Sturtevant. Barnes was also heavily involved with the Boys and Girls Club in Kenosha.

The company said police had confronted gunmen who were attempting a robbery, and Barnes was hit by the crossing bullets.

The U.S. Embassy said it's waiting for an official report on the incident from authorities in Jamaica.


Finance committee mulls tax cut

MADISON -- The committee that's revising the proposed state budget could decide today how much of an income tax cut Wisconsinites may receive over the next two years.

The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to consider the GOP's plans for a tax cut, school funding and Medicaid reforms.

On Monday, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said the average income tax cut would be $150 next year and $290 in 2015. That's the combined effect of the plans put forward by Gov. Scott Walker and Assembly Republican Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield.

Over 60 percent of the tax breaks would go to those making over $100,000 a year.

The Kooyenga plan cuts the most. Unlike the governor's package, Kooyenga wants to get rid of smaller and lesser-used tax credits for businesses.

Under the yearly average of both plans, a worker making $15,000 a year would get a $9 break while those making $100,000 get $559 taken off.

Republican Senate President Mike Ellis said he could support the Kooyenga plan, or any plan that cuts taxes.

Racine Assembly Democrat Cory Mason said the full scope of the tax cut has gotten very little public scrutiny. He says it would take funding away from public schools and it would not help the middle class.


Shifted cargo likely cause of Afghan crash that killed Sun Prairie native

A plane crash in Afghanistan that killed a Wisconsin native might have been caused by a shift in its cargo.

Pilot Jeremy Lipka was killed in late April when a National Airlines Boeing 747-400 plane went down soon after it took off from the Bagram Air Field near Kabul.

The Afghan transport ministry now says there were no technical or mechanical problems before the takeoff. A preliminary report shows that a shift in cargo weight during the flight may have caused the crash, but it will take another year to be certain. All seven people on board were killed, including the 37-year-old pilot Lipka.

He attended school in the Madison suburb of Sun Prairie before moving to Pine Island, Minn., and eventually to Michigan.

National Airlines moves freight for businesses and the military. It also provides charter service for passengers in the Middle East.


Federal panel's OK ends long redistricting fight; GOP scolded

MADISON -- Three federal judges have an approved an out-of-court settlement which ends a long legal challenge to the re-drawing of Wisconsin's legislative districts in 2011.

The judges settled the redistricting case itself a year ago, but it still dragged on. The Democrat and Hispanic groups that filed the lawsuit kept accusing majority legislative Republicans of not giving them all the documents that the court told Republicans to release, showing how the GOP secretly redrew the maps.

Three computers were turned over earlier this year, and the plaintiffs raised questions about whether the GOP purged the most damaging documents in the case beforehand. They couldn't prove it so they obtained a settlement.

The three federal judges - J.P. Stadtmueller, Diane Wood and Robert Dow - said the state's Office of Lawyer Regulation might want to look into the way the documents were handled.

The judges also scolded Republicans for fostering a "peculiarly furtive process" which created even more rancor than redistricting that's done by partisans normally creates. The court said it would be left up to politicians, the media and others to establish a more open process after the 2020 Census.

The judges said "We cannot help but conclude that the people of Wisconsin deserve better in the next round of redistricting."


Legislature will delay action on law-implementation rule

MADISON -- It could be a while before the Wisconsin Legislature decides whether to let the laws it passes automatically stay in place while they're being appealed in the courts.

The Assembly is scheduled to take its final action on the measure this week, but the Senate says it won't take it up at least until this fall, if then.

A spokesperson for GOP Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said senators are focused on the state budget, which is due for approval by the end of the month. He said the leadership might consider the proposal in the autumn floor period.

Republicans have been upset by a series of Dane County court rulings that struck down the state's photo ID law for voting. They say it's wrong to let a judge in one county block a law meant to be followed in an entire state.

Democrats say the bill goes against the government's separation of powers by having the legislative branch tell the judicial branch what to do.

The Legislative Reference Bureau says the bill might be found unconstitutional if somebody challenges it.


Researchers say dextrose may ease arthritic knee pain

MADISON - UW-Madison scientists say they've found a sweet way to relieve knee pain caused by arthritis.

The researchers tested 90 people from ages 40 to 76.

The group that received a water solution with sugary dextrose had twice as much improvement in their knees as those getting liquids without dextrose or were sent home to do exercises.

UW family physician David Rabago said the study showed that dextrose was the active agent in the prolo-therapy process. He said there were no previous studies which slowed a clear difference - not as much as the UW study.

It was published in the current edition of the Annals of Family Medicine.


Justice promises steps to avoid repeats of Milwaukee sting boffo

MILWAUKEE -- The U.S. Justice Department says it has taken steps to prevent future botched undercover operations like the one in Milwaukee by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Journal Sentinel has obtained a letter the Justice Department sent to members of Congress - including suburban Milwaukee House Republican Jim Sensenbrenner - who've been demanding answers.

The ATF set up a fake storefront in Milwaukee last year to catch gun traffickers. Later there were reports that the store was burglarized, an agent's machine gun is still missing, a felon who threatened to shoot someone in the store left untouched, and at least four wrong people were arrested.

Last month, congressional critics were angered when the ATF told them there was no operating manual for its storefront operations even though they've run them for years. The paper said a new manual has since been written, and the Justice Department is considering punishments against several people involved in the Milwaukee operation.

Its former leader, Special Agent Jacuqeline Sutton, was reportedly re-assigned to Washington. The Journal Sentinel said it was not known if the transfer was a demotion.


Man wanted in LaX weekend homicide nabbed in Madison

LACROSSE -- A man wanted for a weekend murder in La Crosse was arrested Monday in Madison, and a woman who was with the suspect at the time was also arrested for aiding a felon.

Mitrel Anderson, 25, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of a Demario Lee, 24, Rockford, Ill.

The incident occurred early Sunday during a fight at a Kwik Trip convenience store in downtown La Crosse.

Police said they tracked down Anderson with his records from his cellphone. He was arrested Monday morning as he walked out of a Madison apartment building.

Police could not say how Anderson and the woman were related or what prompted the suspect to attack and kill Lee.

An investigation continues. No court dates have been set. Online court records do not list charges against the woman.

WKBT TV in La Crosse quoted relatives as saying that Lee drove there to visit family members, and he went drinking Saturday night before slipping into the Kwik Trip to get a snack. The station also said Lee and Anderson were lifelong friends, since elementary school.


Former judge's son gets institutional commitment for woman's killing

MILWAUKEE -- The son of a former Milwaukee judge will spend the rest of his life in a mental institution for killing a woman in a park last year.

Visiting Circuit Judge Sarah O'Brien of Madison found James Donegan, 33, innocent by insanity. That was after mental health experts said Donegan had long suffered delusions of being involved in a religious war between demons and angels.

Prosecutors said he stabbed and strangled Teresa Boone, 45, of Milwaukee because he thought she was after him and that she had a gun in her purse.

James Donegan is the son of former Milwaukee County Circuit Judge and Milwaukee Common Council President Tom Donegan.

The judge said last year that his son was not taking his prescribed medications for schizophrenia and other mental health issues


Wisconsin trucker jailed by NY authorities for unpermitted gun

A truck driver from Milwaukee was sent to jail after police in New York State said they caught him with an illegal handgun and other weapons.

State troopers were doing a routine inspection of Michael Coulter's truck at a checkpoint Monday afternoon. They reportedly found a Hi-Point .40-caliber pistol for which he did not have a required permit. Police said he also had three magazines with 10 rounds each - three more rounds than what New York's gun laws allow.

The troopers said they also found a billy club, a dagger and metal knuckles.

The 45-year-old Coulter was sent to a county jail at Ellery in western New York pending possible charges.