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A locker room fight left one Superior High School student facing a felony charge of child abuse -- because the victim was less than age 18. Stephen John Robert Cannon, 17, is accused of slapping, snapping a towel at and ultimately punching a fellow student after gym class Feb. 23. The victim testified today in Douglas County Court that the altercation left him spitting blood for five minutes.
A Duluth man who critically stabbed himself after threatening to kill his former girlfriend was sentenced Friday in Douglas County Circuit Court to one year in jail and seven years probation. Scott Cahill Akervik, 43, pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and battery in January. Felony charges of attempted first-degree homicide and false imprisonment were dismissed. According to the criminal complaint: Akervik broke into the Superior apartment where his ex-girlfriend lived the evening of July 8 by ripping out a window screen and climbing into her kitchen.
Until he saw it in action, Barron County Circuit Court Judge Jim Babler was skeptical that drug court could work. Six months ago he took over the county's drug court caseload. Today, the judge is a believer. "I think every county should have drug court," he said. "It really is a benefit to the whole community." He likens the program to a gourmet meal instead of a McDonald's burger and fries. Drug court is very time intensive. One hour a week is spent just discussing the eight to 10 cases going through the program at a time.
An initiative to reverse the downward spiral of drug addiction may get underway this month. Douglas County is poised to become the 17th Wisconsin county to run a drug court. "We want to make this successful," said David Longsdorf, mental health and Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse supervisor for Douglas County Health and Human Services. "Drug court is treatment with teeth." The program, which is voluntary, was expected to begin in January.
Lack of supporting facts should end a convicted killer's quest for a new trial, according to an argument filed Tuesday by Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank. Jason Richard Borelli, 34, was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide for murdering Leah Gustafson in her Superior apartment on Jan. 7, 2006. He was sentenced to life in prison with no hope of parole. His case resurfaced last month when Borelli filed a petition for a new trial, alleging ineffective counsel by his attorney, First Assistant State Public Defender J. Patrick O'Neill.
A rural Superior man who tried to enter the shower with his friend's daughter will spend the next year on probation. In Douglas County Court Friday, Dale J. Kangas, 54, pleaded no contest to one count of invasion of privacy for the September incident. Kangas stopped by the friend's house to drop off some articles for their horse, according to the criminal complaint. Their 24-year-old daughter was showering at the time. The door to the house was open, Kangas told Douglas County Sheriff's Department deputies, and when he hollered inside he heard the young woman tell him to come in.
A Superior man whose poor driving led to an accident that left his passenger paralyzed was sentenced to three years probation Thursday in Douglas County Court. Christopher Craig Hughes, 23, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of reckless driving causing great bodily harm. The accident took place May 1, 2007 on County Highway A. Judge Michael Lucci left a three-and-a-half year prison sentence hanging over the Superior man's head. The imposed and stayed prison sentence was part of a joint recommendation by Assistant District Attorney Jim Boughner and First Assistant State Public Defender J.
A Superior man returned thousands of dollars to the church from which he stole it, but the forgiveness of parishioners may be harder to earn. Albert Leroy Tyson, 48, pleaded guilty this month to one count of burglary and three counts of misdemeanor theft for a string of collection-plate pilferings from Holy Assumption Catholic Church. An additional four counts of burglary were dismissed. The weekly thefts started in August of 2007, according to the criminal complaint, and resulted in a $4,000 loss.
The first contender has thrown his hat into the ring for the seat currently held by Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Michael Lucci. Kelly Thimm, assistant district attorney, announced today that he plans to run for the Branch I position. "I decided it was a good time in my life for a career change," he said. "I'm ready for it." Lucci's term ends July 31, 2009. He confirmed today that he does not plan to seek re-election. "This is my last term," the judge said.
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals today upheld Douglas County Circuit Judge Michael Lucci's ruling on a case that thrust Superior into the international spotlight. In March, 21-year-old Bryan James Hathaway pled no contest to one charge of sexual gratification with an animal for having sex with a dead deer Oct. 11, 2006, he saw while biking along Stinson Avenue. Assistant State Public Defender Jefren Olsen filed an appeal on his behalf in November, arguing Hathaway was accused of a nonexistent crime.