CRANDON - The first Mole Lake stabbing suspect was sentenced Monday. 18-year-old Melvin Zarda is one of six charged in the beating and stabbing of a Wausau Man back in February.
"He has clearly indicated that he is part of the Latin Kings. This whole interaction that is before the court is gang-based," says Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono.
Facing attempted murder charges, Melvin Zarda took a plea deal with the state. It required him to tell prosecutors what happened the night of an attack in Mole Lake, and specifically who did what.
"Mr. Zarda is incredibly dangerous. Why? Because he doesn't think for himself, he just acts," says Simono.
Simono detailed for the court the role Zarda admitted to playing in the stabbing.
"That's when Mr. Zarda was told to initiate the first strike. According to Mr. Zarda he asked Mr. Craig McGeshick and Preston Krustensterna to do it and they said, 'No, you were ordered to do it'," says Simono.
Defense attorney Stephen Sawyer said while it's not an excuse, Zarda's choice to join the gang wasn't out of a desire for a life of crime.
"To that point it had been a way to hang out with a bunch of guys that he thought cared about him, he thought would watch his back, protect him," says Sawyer.
Simono did note Zarda came forward with information knowing it could put him at risk, without any guarantee of an easy sentence.
"Part of his agreement is he has to testify truthfully at any forthcoming hearing or trial against any of his co-defendants," says Simono.
Judge Leon Stenz sentenced Zarda to nine years: four in prison, with five years extended supervision, for the second degree reckless injury charge. Then he'll also get three years probation for false imprisonment.
"No one has showed up to support Mr. Zarda and that speaks both ways. Number one, maybe they don't believe he deserves to be supported. Number two, maybe he's the way he is because no one has supported him. But to blame everything on the fact that he had alcoholic parents and a rough childhood ignores the fact that he was given opportunities," says Judge Stenz.
Craig McGeshick will be sentenced Wednesday, and Preston Krusensterna December 7th. The other three suspects are scheduled for jury trial in January.
RHINELANDER - Wisconsinís attorney general enforces and defends laws made by the state, but one of Wisconsinís candidates for the position believes his opponents will only pick and choose.
Right now Republican Candidate Brad Schimel, Waukesha County district attorney, faces three Democrats, Rep. Jon Richards, Susan Happ and Ismael Ozanne. Richards represents a portion of Milwaukee in the State Assymbly. Happ is the Jefferson County District Attorney. Ozanne is the Dane County District Attorney.
Schimel says some of his opponents, especially Richard will only enforce laws they agree with.
"That's problematic and I believe that's not what the attorney general should be doing, that's a crusade, that's a policy maker," Schimel said. "If Rep. Richards wants to do that then he should stay in the legislature."
Richards has been in the Legislature since 1998.
Newswatch 12 asked him Friday if he would pick and choose laws to enforce.
He said heíd look at the constitution to determine how he would enforce laws in Wisconsin.
"I can grantee you there are plenty of laws that I voted against that I will end up enforcing and making sure that we implement," Richards said, "And there are some laws that I think clearly violate the U-S constitution or the state constitution and we'll be taking a hard look at those."
Democratic candidates Susan Happ and Ismael Ozanne were not available before running this story.
Richards was touring the Northwoods Friday talking to media and district attorneys in the area.
The Democratic primary is set for August 12th. Election day is Nov. 4, 2014.
WOODRUFF - The Olympics might be over, but the Paralympics are underway in Sochi. Teachers at one local school are using the Olympic spirit to teach students about other countries.
Students at North Country Montessori celebrated International Day Friday morning. The students learn about different countries throughout the school year.
"The children at Montessori do a huge unit on geography and world culture, and we used today as a way to express the information that we found and things that we've learned," says North Country Montessori director Candice Henderson.
This year's theme was the Sochi Olympics.
Each student dressed up as a different country and sang songs in Russian.
This was the school's 30th annual International Day celebration. It ended with a potluck meal featuring ethnic food from different countries.
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