Suspect faces charge for 2006 assaultThe Superior man accused of a string of stranger sexual assaults in Douglas County makes an initial appearance Wednesday in Burnett County Circuit Court.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The Superior man accused of a string of stranger sexual assaults in Douglas County makes an initial appearance Wednesday in Burnett County Circuit Court.
Craig Allen Mehtala, 28, faces two felony counts – second-degree sexual assault and battery – stemming from a July 2006 sexual assault along Pike Bend Road in the town of Meenon.
He also faces three second-degree sexual assault charges in Douglas County Circuit Court in connection with three separate attacks on women this summer in Superior. All of the attacks, according to the criminal complaints, were stranger assaults on women walking alone in dark, early morning hours.
According to the Burnett County criminal complaint, the woman was walking to her cabin from a local tavern in 2006 when she was jumped from behind. She was slammed to the roadway so hard it broke her breastbone and finger. She then was pushed or dragged into the ditch and sexually assaulted, screaming the entire time.
Unidentified DNA from that case matched DNA from a June 21 sexual assault in Douglas County.
In June, a woman walking home from a wedding reception when she was jumped from behind and sexually assaulted in a parking lot near Hammond Avenue in North End.
According to the Douglas County complaint:
The cases Burnett and Douglas county cases were linked through unidentified DNA when another sexual assault occurred Aug. 29 in Superior. During that attack, a woman was walking home near Wade Bowl Park when a man walked up behind her and sexually assaulted her. She called for help and the suspect fled.
A nearby neighbor heard what she thought was a young boy call for help, so she dialed 911.
Superior police officers who responded saw Mehtala running up the hill near the alley next to Wade Bowl. They stopped and identified him, then allowed him to leave. About 20 minutes later, the sexual assault was reported. Officers located Mehtala and collected DNA samples and the clothing he was wearing that night.
When a Wisconsin State Crime Lab DNA analysis came back in late September, Mehtala’s DNA was linked to both Superior crimes and the Burnett County case.
The third Superior case took place June 15. A stranger came up behind a woman as she was unlocking the front door to her home and sexually assaulted her.
Mehtala made two initial appearances earlier this month in Douglas County Circuit Court – first for a single sexual assault charge, and again the next day on an amended complaint that included three counts of second-degree sexual assault. Bail was set at $750 cash, but Mehtala was held because of pending charges from Burnett County.
A bail hearing took place in Burnett County on Oct. 12 and a $25,000 signature bond was ordered. Following a preliminary hearing in Douglas County two days later, Judge George Glonek raised the cash bail to $10,000.
An arraignment is set for next week in Douglas County Circuit Court.
Mehtala remains in custody in the Burnett County Jail.