Suspect to face murder charge
By: By Jana Hollingsworth,
A Superior man was scheduled to face formal charges this afternoon for the early Saturday murder of his neighbor.
Jason Richard Borelli, 31, was arrested for first-degree intentional homicide in the stabbing death of Leah R. Gustafson, 29, Superior, Police Chief Floyd Peters said today at a press conference.
Police officers were called to 1910 John Ave. around 4:50 a.m. Saturday after dispatchers received a 911 call from a cell phone. Dispatchers heard a struggle, but could not immediately discern a location while the altercation was taking place. A neighbor called 911 shortly thereafter to report a disturbance from apartment No. 3, Peters said.
Officers found Gustafson on the apartment floor suffering from several stab wounds and injuries to her head. Revival efforts were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Peters said several objects were used in the struggle, including a collector’s sword that was used to stab Gustafson. Investigators believe the sword was her property.
A neighbor’s description of the suspect leaving the scene led police to Borelli’s 1901 John Ave. residence, where the suspect had fled. He was found trying to dispose of blood evidence, was arrested without incident and is being held in the Douglas County Jail. His initial appearance in Douglas County Court was set for 3 p.m. today.
Police believe Gustafson and Borelli knew each other through an acquaintance in Gustafson’s building, but were not a couple. Peters said there was no sign of sexual assault but would not comment on substance abuse being a factor because of the ongoing investigation. He said it was thought that Gustafson made the first call to police.
Borelli has a criminal history in at least four area counties — Douglas, Barron, Washburn and Burnett. His record includes three OWI offenses and charges for drugs, battery and theft. He was ordered to have a psychiatric evaluation in 1995 and has received treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, according to Wisconsin criminal records.
This was the city’s first homicide of the year. There were no homicides in 2005.
Peters credited neighbors for cooperating with police during the investigation.
“It’s a good neighborhood,” he said. “We don’t have problems there, normally.”
Jana Hollingsworth is a staff writer for The Daily Telegram. She can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (715) 394-4421, ext. 137.