RHINELANDER - Violent crimes tend to grab our attention- even more so when a family member acts out against another family member.
Police arrested 16-year-old Michael Thimm back in December. He attacked his mother and her boyfriend with a buck knife when they were fighting over a computer. Thimm was in Oneida County Court today for his preliminary hearing.
Rather than arguing about what Thimm did, it seems the defense and prosecution will argue about whether Thimm understood what he was doing. That's because the teenager has a form of autism called Aspergers.
Judge Patrick O'Melia heard testimony from an investigator, a mental health expert, and Thimm himself. The main question: did he intend to kill his stepdad?
"Do you remember him asking, 'Did you intend to kill Joel?'" asked District Attorney Mike Schiek.
"Yes," answered Thimm.
But Thimm's defense team argued that because of his Aspergers he couldn't differentiate his intent to scare or injure Mr. Sandburg as opposed to kill him.
Judge O'Melia decided there's enough evidence to move forward with the case. Thimm is charged with attempted first degree intentional homicide. That charge is serious enough that he's automatically tried as an adult. But since he's only 16, he'll be back in court in May to try to get his case sent to the juvenille justice system.
Supporters of a second softball field at Pioneer Park in Rhinelander will need to wait for any decision on if those plans can move forward.
The Parks, Buildings and Grounds Committee decided Monday night to hold a public hearing in front of the full city council before deciding on whether it wants to accept the park plans.
The Rhinelander softball program hopes to build a second softball field at Pioneer Park just south of its existing field. The program would use about $50,000 from donations and fundraisers to build the new field. Softball coach D.J. DeMeyer tells Newswatch 12 the second field would allow the city to host upwards of 70 games a year, including RHS softball games, tournaments, and city recreation leagues.
But the new field would require cutting down nearly 10 trees and take up space routinely used by the fair and farmers' market. City Administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner says she's heard from plenty of people worried about space issues.
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