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WKEB Local News Archives for 2013-06

The Taylor County Courtroom was near capacity for the initial appearance of Heidi Mann of Rib Lake.  Mann is charged with 4 counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the alleged attempted killing of 4 of her children.  Former district attorney Shawn Paul represented Mann.  Attorney Paul waived their right to a preliminary examination.  She requested having the bail reduced from $200,000 to $5,000.  She told Judge Anne Knox-Bauer that Mann would live with a retired aunt and uncle in Phillips who could provide 24 hour monitoring if she was released on bond.  Further, Mann is preparing papers to attend a Residential Treatment Center with the first 30 days consisting of intensive treatment.  D.A. Kristi Tlusty indicated that in her opinion Mann is a flight risk due to the severity of the charges.  Mann’s attorney Shawn Paul told the court that Mann’s case was “Self Reported”.  Paul pleaded that you don’t warehouse persons in jail who need treatment.  Judge Knox-Bauer kept bond at $200,000 but requested further information regarding the Residential Treatment Center once it is available.  A settlement conference was set for July 19th at 9:45 A.M. 

  Medford resident Inez Loertscher recently celebrated her 100th birthday!  Happy Birthday, Inez!  Inez made her first ever visit to the K99 WIGM Studios and spent part of her visit reminiscing with K99's Russ Gowey.  She was even coaxed by Russ into serenading us with a tune from her childhood...sung in German.  We invite you to join us on an extraordinary trip down memory lane with Russ Gowey and our tour guide, 100 year old Inez Loertscher...................................................................................



     What degree of force is “reasonable” when making an arrest?  That’s the issue to be decided by 4 members of the Taylor County Personnel Committee.   Sgt. Dave Bender was placed on leave in early March for allegations that he used excessive force during an arrest.  Sheriff Bruce Daniels has requested to fire Bender for the use of force, a violation of department regulations, and failing to indicate the use of force in his report.  Bender is the commander of the county’s SWAT team.  Personnel hearings are normally conducted in closed session, but Dave Bender requested having the testimony in open session.  On Wednesday sheriff’s officers who were involved in the arrest testified their observations for nearly 8 hours.  On March 4th the Taylor County Sheriff’s department was dispatched to a residence on Allman Street in the town of Medford to arrest a man with a gun, a possible Chapter 51.  Six Taylor County officers entered the Shawn Steen home and after a brief struggle with Steen face-down on the floor placed handcuffs on him with his hands behind his back.  Bender is accused of striking Shawn Steen twice, once while escorting him to a squad car, and a second time while assisting in putting Steen into the car.  Chief Deputy Larry Woebbeking testified that Bender was “way too wired”.  He felt the strike was not reasonable. 

     Detective Aemus Balsis testified that Steen was arguing about being arrested and wanted to know what he had done.  Balsis said, once Steen was up, he was verbalizing, that was it.   Bender’s attorney Bill Rettko of Brookfield challenged Balsis, “If you were trying to keep someone from spitting on you, you’d turn their head correct?”  Rettko was referencing when Bender pushed Steens face telling him to “shut up” while they were walking down the snow covered driveway.  
     Detective Steve Bowers, a member of the S.W.A.T. team testified that the officers made a “Stacked Entry” into the home with Bender in the lead.  Bender took Steen to the floor and eventually 3 officers got his arms out from under him and handcuffed him.  Bowers said that as he and Bender escorted Steen down the driveway, Steen was “Running off at the mouth”.   Bowers was asked if he felt threatened and he replied ‘no’.  Because the lead squad car had gotten stuck in the snow, a city squad car with a cage was brought to the scene.  As Bowers attempted to load Steen into the back seat, Bender reached over the door and attempted to lower Steen’s head.  Steen “stiffened” up and resisted which was when Bender apparently struck Steen twice in the cheek with a backhand strike.

     Attorney Ken Schmiege presided over the hearing.  Schmiege asked officer Bowers if any weapons were present in the home and Bowers replied that 1 was found in the living room.  Schmiege asked Bowers to characterize resistance.  Bowers described 3 types of resistance as being verbal, passive, and active.  Schmiege asked about Steen’s resistance after they left the house and Bowers felt it was “Mostly passive”.

     Medford police officer Rich Burghaus testified that as Steen was being put into the back seat of his squad car he saw Bender use 2 backhand strikes to Steen’s cheek.  Burghaus said “I call them rabbit punches”.  Burghaus said when they arrived at the jail, Steen had a small amount of blood on his lip which turned out to be from a bloody nose, which he didn’t know if it had happened when they took him to the floor or not.


     Deputy Nick Schuld testified he drove the lead squad car which became stuck in the snow when they attempted to drive around a vehicle which was parked in the Steen driveway.  Schuld was asked whether the morale at the department is low since the event and he replied “Yes”.  Officer Schuld recalled how he had been “Head butted” by someone with cuffs behind their back.

     Detective Marshal Multhauf of the Dunn County Sheriff’s department investigated the incident at the request of Sheriff Daniels.  Multhauf testified that he felt the use of force was not reasonable based on the number of officers available.  Multhauf was challenged by Bender’s attorney who asked, “You had a suspect who was intoxicated with a .33 blood level, the longer an intoxicated individual is in control the more dangerous he becomes, correct?”

     A number of references were made to the study manual Wisconsin Defense & Arrest Tactics.  This booklet highlights the proper use of force on suspects.  It was noted that every situation is fluid and allows for changing reactions.  Mr. Schmiege asked Detective Multhauf when he felt it was justified to use a dynamic untrained technique in restraint?  The officer replied: “Anytime it is justified”.

     The last witness to testify was Sgt. David Fish of the WI State Patrol.  Fish is a Master D.A.T. Instructor which means he teaches the Defense & Arrest Tactics to other instructors.  Proper procedures from a stop to use of deadly force are taught.  Officer Fish discussed the various types of resistance.  He believed that Steen was displaying “Passive Resistance”.  Benders attorney challenged Fish that a report by Mr. Willis stated that the force was justified.  He indicated that there were conflicting reports regarding the intensity of the strikes and the number of them.

     Originally the hearing was to last one day with a decision from the committee the following day.  However, after nearly 8 hours of testimony, it was decided to adjourn for the day.  Testimony is expected to resume with Sheriff Daniels, Officer Bender, and witnesses supporting Benders case.  Because of scheduling conflicts the hearing won’t resume until July 10th.


Heidi Mann of Rib Lake appeared in Taylor County Court for a bond hearing Monday morning.  District Attorney Kristi Tlusty requested that bond for Mann be set at $200,000 cash with conditions including no possession of firearms and no unsupervised contact with her children.  D.A. Tlusty told the court that Heidi Mann is facing 4 possible charges of 1st degree intentional homicide.  Mann’s attorney agreed with the terms but felt that $200,000 was excessive.  He said that it has been 4 months since the alleged infractions.  She has been cooperative with the Taylor County Sheriff’s office and Human Services during the investigation.  He felt if Mann was released on bond she wouldn’t return home but would live with another area couple.  Court Commissioner William Grunewald indicated that after he read the probable cause report he felt if Heidi Mann is convicted she would face an extended prison term.  Faced with that fact could make the defendant a flight risk.  Grunewald indicated that bond has a 2 fold purpose.  First to insure that the defendant appears for all court proceedings and second to protect the public.  Bond for Heidi Mann was placed at $200,000 cash.  She may not have any unsupervised contact with her children.  Grunewald felt the request for no possession of firearms was not relevant so he over ruled that request.  D.A. Tlusty told the court that she expects charges to be filed within 5 business days, before 9 A.M. Monday June 24th.  The initial appearance was set for June 25th at 2:30.  37 year old Heidi Mann is accused of attempting to kill 4 of her children, ages 3, 5, 8, and 11 by carbon monoxide asphyxiation. Sheriff Bruce Daniels said Monday that the children are physically OK and are being cared for by family members.  Daniels said his department learned of the incident last week.  A silent Heidi Mann was escorted from the courtroom for booking wearing an orange jail jumpsuit.


On June 14, 2013, Taylor County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Heidi S. Mann, a 37 year old Rib Lake resident, on 4 counts of attempted homicide, related to a March 8, 2013 incident at her Rib Lake home.  Allegations received were that Mann attempted to cause death of four of her six children, ages 3,5,8, and 11, by carbon monoxide asphyxiation.
Investigation into this matter is ongoing.  It is expected that she will make an appearance in Taylor County Circuit Court early next week.  No date or time has been set.





  We've all heard or maybe told the story of the "big one" that got away.   But here's a real big fish story that needed no bait, no rod, no boat...just some practical wrestling skills.  Don't believe us?  Well, don't take our word for it.  Fisherman and Sturgeon Wrestler, Gared Nisson of Lublin recently shared his one of a kind fishing story with K99's "old man of the sea" Russ Gowey...............................................





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