Police are still searching for a Kenosha man who was reported missing Tuesday after signs of a violent struggle were found in his apartment.
Friends and family last heard from Rosalio Gutierrez Jr. on Sunday. When the woman Gutierrez was dating was unable to reach him, she went to his home at the Woodcreek Apartments on Tuesday.
According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday, she found the sliding glass door to his apartment open and looking inside saw “furniture had been moved around, an area rug was gone and there appeared to be large amounts of blood on the floor and furniture.”
Police found Gutierrez’s vehicles parked outside.
On Friday police put out a plea for residents of Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties to report any information that they may have seen Gutierrez there. Police would not say why they believed he may have been in those areas.
Also Friday, police said digital billboards in the region were displaying missing person information seeking information about Gutierrez’s whereabouts.
Gutierrez, 40, is single and lived alone. The father of two children, he is a local real estate investor. In pleas for his safe return, friends online described Gutierrez as kind, funny and big-hearted.
Kenosha Police said Friday that the investigation into Gutierrez’s whereabouts are ongoing.
On Thursday, a Mequon man — 39-year-old Zachariah Anderson — was charged with stalking Gutierrez and the woman Gutierrez was dating. Anderson, the woman’s former boyfriend and father of her children, was alleged to have been jealous of the new relationship. According to the criminal complaint, he is alleged to have been tracking the woman’s movements and watching her while she was with Gutierrez. He is also alleged to have taken items from Gutierrez’s car.
Deputy District Attorney Angelina Gabriele told a court commissioner at Anderson’s initial court appearance that he is the focus of police investigations into Gutierrez’s disappearance.
In December, the woman Gutierrez was dating sought a restraining order against Anderson in Washington County. In the petition, she described a series of events — one as early as 2008 — in which he became angry, threatening and destructive, and in at least one instance attempted to take one of their children out of school. She said she feared Anderson’s mood changes, mental instability and violent episodes.
“My concern is that it will increasingly become more violent and physical if he does not get help for his emotions and anger,” the woman wrote in the petition. “I fear the retaliation and non-physical abusive behavior that could lead to physical.”
At a hearing in January, a Washington County judge denied the petition.
A new restraining order petition was filed against Anderson in Washington County on Thursday.
Anderson is being held on $35,000 bond on the stalking charge.
Kenosha Police are asking that anyone with information about Gutierrez’s disappearance contact the Kenosha Police Detective Bureau at 262-605-5203. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call Kenosha Area Crime Stoppers at 262-656-7333.
A Mequon man charged with stalking Thursday is the focus of an investigation into the whereabouts of a missing Kenosha resident.
Zachariah Anderson, 39, is being held on $35,000 bond, charged Thursday with stalking his former girlfriend and her new boyfriend, Rosalio Gutierrez Jr.
Gutierrez, 40, has been missing since Sunday, his disappearance under investigation by Kenosha Police.
“There is an ongoing investigation in which Mr. Anderson is the focus involving the whereabouts of Mr. Gutierrez,” Deputy District Attorney Angelina Gabriele told the court commissioner at Anderson’s initial appearance on the stalking charge.
Gutierrez has not been located. Police were at Anderson’s home in Mequon Thursday afternoon as part of that probe.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the stalking case. Kenosha Police were called to Gutierrez’s apartment on the 3700 block of 15th Street Tuesday. The woman Gutierrez was dating met police there, telling officers that she had not seen or heard from Gutierrez since Sunday and that she had gone to his apartment to check on him.
She found the sliding glass door to the apartment open and looked in to see “furniture had been moved around, an area rug was gone and there appeared to be large amounts of blood on the floor and furniture.”
The complaint states that police found Gutierrez’s vehicles were still parked at the apartment complex.
According to the complaint, the woman told police she had been dating Gutierrez for a few months and that Anderson, her former boyfriend and father of her children, disapproved.
According to the complaint, she believed Anderson had been tracking her movements by hiding a phone in her car, watching her and Gutierrez when they spent time together and stealing items from Gutierrez’s car.
According to the complaint, Anderson told detectives he knew his former girlfriend was dating people and that there was some jealousy between the two. but he denied having tracked her movements or of taking anything from Gutierrez’s car.
The complaint does not include any discussions police may have had with Anderson about Gutierrez’s disappearance.
Defense attorney Hilary Edwards told the court Anderson’s former girlfriend has made “false allegations” about him in the past. She said the woman had sought a restraining order against Anderson in Washington County which was denied.
Edwards said Anderson himself called 911 the day he was arrested after people showed up at his Mequon home.
Gabriele said Anderson is awaiting sentencing in a South Dakota drug case. She said in that case he was driving from Washington state to Wisconsin with 27 pounds of marijuana in his car when he was stopped by police.
She said there also are pending charges for a marijuana growing operation found at his home when police took him into custody this week.
A 21-year-old Silver Lake woman is being held on $5,000 bond, charged with delivery of methamphetamine.
Jasmyn Schiller was targeted in an investigation by the Kenosha Drug Operations Group which set up a purchase through a confidential informant. That person purchased 15.22 grams of meth from Schiller, who was known by the nickname Jax, after arranging to meet her in the parking lot of Woodman’s grocery store on April 27.
Schiller is alleged to have sold a half ounce of methamphetamine during the transaction. Schiller was charged Tuesday.
Schiller is expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing May 29.
DNA analysis led to the arrest of a Kenosha man for a 2014 sexual assault.
Robert A. Thomas, 22, is being held on $25,000 bond following his initial appearance in court Tuesday. He was charged with second-degree sexual assault.
According to the criminal complaint, a woman told Kenosha Police on Oct. 2, 2014, she was walking alone from one bar on the 3200 block of 60th Street to another bar down the block when she was approached on the street by a man who walked with her for about five minutes before pushing her down in a parking lot and sexually assaulting her. He then took her phone and purse and ran away.
The woman walked to a house to try to get help but no one would open the door. Another man found the woman crying in a parking lot, and she told him she had been assaulted. He drove her to the police station.
The woman told police she did not know the man who had assaulted her and could only give a vague description of him. She was taken to a hospital for a sexual assault examination and DNA evidence was collected during the exam.
According to the complaint, police received information from the state Crime Lab that the DNA evidence from the assault had been linked to Thomas.
According to court records, Thomas was convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct in October 2019 and had to submit a DNA sample as part of that conviction. Police showed a photo of Thomas from around the time the assault occurred to the woman in a photo lineup. She was not able to identify anyone from the lineup as her attacker.
Thomas is next expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing May 27.
A 66-year-old Pleasant Prairie man is alleged to have attacked another man with a baseball bat.
Robert Seal was charged Tuesday with second degree recklessly endangering safety, criminal damage to property and bail jumping for the May 9 incident.
According to the criminal complaint, Pleasant Prairie Police were called to a home on the 8600 block of Cooper Road at 12:10 p.m. May 9 for a report of a fight. The complaint states that Seal had been fighting with another man and the second man’s father came to the address to pick up his son. When the father pulled his van into the driveway, the complaint states, Seal is alleged to have come out of his house with a bat and a butcher knife, using the bat to shatter three windows in the van. The father pulled the van out of the driveway and said he got out of the vehicle to assess the damage, saying that Seal then got in a vehicle and sped toward him across the lawn. The man told police he had to run to escape being hit.
The man claimed he never spoke to Seal or got out of his vehicle until he left the property. Seal told police the man had attempted to force his way into his house and then refused to leave his property.
A Kenosha man is being held on $10,000 bond, alleged to have fled a crash while driving drunk.
Jose Ramirez, Jr., 30, was charged Monday with operating while intoxicated causing injury-second offense, hit-and-run causing injury and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence-third offense.
According to the criminal complaint, Ramirez is alleged to have pulled out of the parking lot of the Villa Rosa Apartments, 722 Sheridan Road, at about 12:25 p.m Sunday into the path of a northbound vehicle that was unable to stop in time and hit the SUV Ramirez was driving. A family including two young children were in the car. A woman passenger had a laceration on her face and said she had head and neck pain and was taken to a hospital by ambulance.
After the crash, the driver of the SUV backed up then fled south on Sheridan.
A short time later the SUV crashed into a light pole on the 2000 block of Alford Park Drive. Ramirez, the driver and only occupant of the SUV, was taken into custody there.
According to the criminal complaint, Ramirez appeared to be intoxicated, had difficulty standing and had to balance himself using the squad car. He could not complete a field sobriety test. The complaint states that Ramirez has two previous operating while intoxicated convictions, the most recent in 2018.
Along with the other charges, Ramirez was charged with operating while revoked and failure to install an ignition interlock device.
A 41-year-old Kenosha woman was charged Monday in connection with a stabbing at a Kenosha motel.
Londa Cowart was charged with second-degree reckless injury-use of a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct, alleged to have stabbed her boyfriend.
According to Kenosha Police, Cowart was arrested after police were called to the Park Ridge Inn, 6121 75th St., at 2:25 a.m. Sunday and found a naked man “covered in a bright red substance that appeared to be blood.”
A criminal complaint filed Monday states that residents of the hotel reported hearing a couple fighting on and off throughout the day Saturday, the fighting escalating at about 1 a.m. Sunday. Police who knocked on the motel room door found the man bleeding. He told police he “fell and cut himself” and had covered the wound with a towel. When he took the towel off the wound “blood gushed forth and pooled on the floor,” the complaint states.
Officers found Cowart in the same room with blood on her face, arms, hands, legs and the tops and bottoms of her feet. A bloody trail led to the bathroom where police found a small knife with blood on the blade. The injured man said the knife had nothing to do with his injury.
“When officers told (the man) that they did not believe he had fallen and that they arrested the defendant for stabbing him he stated that he loved her and did not want to say what had happened,” the complaint states.
The complaint states that Cowart had marks and bruising around her eye and lacerations on her face as well as bruising on her arms. “She repeatedly said she did nothing wrong.”
According to the complaint, the man needed surgery to repair the wound to his lower abdomen.
A Kenosha accountant and former Kenosha County Board supervisor is suing members of the executive board of the Republican Party of Kenosha County.
Joseph Clark filed suit this month against the individual members of the executive board — Erin Decker, who is also a member of the Kenosha County Board, Matt Augustine, Mary Verzal, John Poole and Don Diehl — over a post on the party Facebook page calling Clark “crooked” and accusing Clark of benefiting from local tax dollars through political payback.
Clark’s suit accuses the members of the board of “actual malice in making false and defamatory statements about Clark” knowing they were false or “with reckless disregard whether they were true or not.”
The post, which went online April 28, accuses Clark of receiving political payback through a COVID-19 testing site.
The post begins: “King Kreuser is now using tax dollars to help out his buddy, Joe Clark.”
And it ends, “King Kreuser and Big-man Beth know these people will do their bidding since they are bought and paid for by Crooked Clark ... This is how Kenosha County tax dollars are being spent — as political payback.”
The post was still online Monday.
The Facebook post at issue draws together several issues, starting with the Kenosha Community Health Center’s involvement in a drive-up testing site for COVID-19. The non-profit health center, which primarily serves low-income patients with medical, dental and behavioral health care, partnered with Gateway Technical College and the Kenosha County Division of Health to operate the drive-up testing site, which is still open. Through Monday, about 600 people had been tested at the site.
Clark is president of the board at the Kenosha Community Health Center, an unpaid volunteer position. Clark was also once on the board of an organization called the Kenosha Cares Coalition, which was active in 2014 to support political candidates for the Kenosha Unified School District Board. That organization became politically active again this year — with an entirely new board that did not include Clark — supporting candidates for the Kenosha County Board, including the candidate that ran successfully against Poole.
On April 29, Clark’s attorney Todd Terry sent a letter to the five members of the Republican board demanding that the Facebook post be retracted. The letter states that Clark is no longer involved with Kenosha Cares Coalition, that the Kenosha Community Health Center is funded through federal sources and a block grant administered by the city of Kenosha and receives no county funds, and that Clark receives no money for his volunteer position with the health center.
“I certainly understand there can be political and personal animus between people and I respect that,” the letter states. “Where that animus crosses the line is where someone in your position makes entirely false and unsupported statements to the public at large which cause harm to the subject of those statements.”
The letter states that Clark is a private business owner and not a public political figure (he left the County Board in 2012). “The reference to him as “crooked” is well beyond the bounds of free speech or opinion.”
The letter demands that the post be removed, that the members of the board pay Clark’s attorney fees and make a $1,000 donation to the Kenosha Community Health Center.
Clark filed suit when the post was not removed by May 5. According to the suit, Terry “received confirmation from the defendants that they had no intention of retracting or removing the Facebook post.”
Poole initially spoke to the Kenosha News on Monday, then called back and retracted his statements.
Decker said “collectively, all of us have no comment on the record.”
The five people named in the suit have not filed a legal response according to court records.
Clark and Terry also said they had no comment.
In the suit, Clark is seeking unspecified monetary damages. The parties are expected in court for a scheduling conference Sept. 10.
A Trevor man accused of a violent sexual assault and attempted homicide contracted COVID-19 in jail and sought to be released on bond as he awaits trial, a plea rejected by a judge.
Robert Eaton, Jr.,34, is charged with eight felonies including attempted first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree sexual assault for the February 2019 incident.
He is alleged to have beaten, shot at and raped a friend who said she came to his home at his parents’ horse farm to help him after he called threatening suicide. After she fled the house, Eaton had a five-hour standoff with law enforcement.
At a hearing by videoconference Friday, a prosecutor said Eaton rejected a plea offer from the state and the case is expected to go to trial.
Under a new law that expands victims rights in the state, the woman Eaton is alleged to have assaulted spoke at the hearing, urging the judge to keep Eaton in jail as he awaits trial.
“I myself didn’t get an option as to whether or not to take a beating from him, to be attacked the way I was,” she said.
“I have to live with it every day and I have problems sleeping and flashbacks as well as fearing for my life … for the safety of the community, myself and my children.
Eaton’s attorney asked that Eaton’s bond be reduced from $250,000 to $25,000.
“I think (the) county had 80 cases of COVID (at the Kenosha County Detention Center) including Mr. Eaton,” said defense attorney Patrick Cafferty. He said Eaton has had difficulty breathing, and could be better treated for the virus outside a jail environment.
He said it is also difficult to prepare for trial as attorneys are not able to meet with clients in person because of the restrictions imposed at the jail to try to stop the spread of
Cafferty suggested that Eaton, if released, could wear an ankle monitor and would be able to stay at property owned by his parents.
Judge David Wilk said he would not take Eaton’s COVID-19 diagnosis into account while deciding his bond. “I am not satisfied that I should substitute my immature and undeveloped knowledge of medicine to say that he is
either a great risk to the community out of jail or whether he is a greater risk to himself in jail,” he said.
But he said the nature of the allegations and the allegation that Eaton had a standoff with police before being arrested made him a flight risk.
“It’s hard for me to imagine more violent acts. These are acts that, in reading the complaint and the probable cause statement, are shocking,” Wilk said.
Eaton is accused of sexually assaulting a woman who told
investigators she had known Eaton since high school. She said she went to his house the night of the assault after he called and texted her saying he was
distraught over a breakup with a girlfriend and was considering suicide.
When she arrived, the woman told investigators, Eaton was intoxicated. While she was there, she said, he demanded sex. When she refused, she told investigators, he threatened her with a gun, beat her with a fire
extinguisher and sexually assaulted her.
When she fled the house with no clothing into the winter night she was able to call 911 from a phone she left
in her car, but was unable to leave the property because she had left her keys behind. Deputies found her hiding in the car.
“I recognize the allegations are significant,” Cafferty said. “But given my reviews of the evidence there are defenses that can be presented to many of these charges.”
Two people were injured in separate shootings in Kenosha Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
The Kenosha Police Department released information Wednesday afternoon on the shootings, stating that, all totaled, officers continue to investigate four separate incidents that took place Tuesday.
Lt. Joe Nosalik said the first shooting was reported at 10:42 p.m. in the 5400 block of 31st Avenue, followed by the second at 11:28 p.m. in the 1900 block of 52nd St., the third at 12:43 a.m. Wednesday in the 2700 block of Roosevelt Avenue, and the last at 2:50 a.m. Wednesday at 61st St. and 11th Avenue.
“We don’t have information (whether they’re all connected) at this point,” Nosalik said.
Police are not releasing if any arrests have yet been made.
“We’re not going to release that at this point,” he said. “It could affect the outcome of the investigations.”
A 22-year-old female and a 21-year-old male, both from Kenosha, suffered non-life threatening injuries and were transported to local hospitals. An update on their conditions was unavailable as of press time.
Police seized more than a dozen firearms during their investigation, which remains ongoing and fluid, according to a press release.
Whether Tuesday’s incidents are tied to four different shootings in Racine on Monday night is unclear, Nosalik said. Three men suffered non-life threatening injuries as a result of those incidents.
“That’s something that they certainly look at,” he said. “Our investigators here talk to other police departments all the time. I don’t know if there’s any connection to what went on in Racine and what took place here. It is standard practice for police departments to talk to each other.”
As to what may be causing this sudden spate of incidents around the city, Nosalik wishes he had the answer.
“We all have the same questions,” he said. “... Probably (it’s) the culmination of several different things, (being) cooped up the last 10 weeks, the sudden break of warm weather, social media. Who knows?
“It’s anybody’s guess as to what the reasoning is behind this. We’re working on it diligently, and hopefully, we’ll have some answers what happened and why.”
A 48-year-old Kenosha man was charged Tuesday with two felony counts relating to a burglary of tools from the Wood Creek Apartments.
Joseph E. Campo is charged with burglary and possession of burglarious tools, which carry a total possible fine of $35,000 and 16 years in prison if he's convicted.
Campo, who has a preliminary hearing Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., also is charged with two misdemeanor counts of bail jumping and one of theft.
According to the criminal complaint:
A maintenance worker with the apartment complex told police that on May 20, he and another worker noticed a number of tools were missing. During the investigation, police learned that the defendant had sold a number of the missing tools to a second-hand dealer.
Police searched Campo's residence and found a number of tools, including some with the word "Wood Creek" inscribed on them.
The trial of a Kenosha doctor who faces 61 felony drug-related charges will be heard before a different Circuit Court judge.
Judge Bruce E. Schroeder said in a hearing Tuesday that he is acquainted with someone who had a professional relationship with Dr. Nedal Mejalli, which led to the decision to recuse himself.
The case will move to Judge Jason A. Rossell. A new trial date had yet to be set.
Mejalli is a former family practice doctor and hospitalist at Froedtert South. The criminal case against him began after his name came up during a human trafficking investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
The defendant worked for Froedtert South until the spring of 2019 when he was charged with stalking a 22-year-old woman who worked at Froedtert Kenosha Hospital.
A 55-year-old Kenosha man, released in 2018 after he spent 34 years in prison for murder, will stand trial later this summer on two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault.
The July 1 trial date before Kenosha Circuit Court Judge Jason A. Rossell was set Tuesday morning for Darrick Alexander.
Alexander’s trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday, but because of continuing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the date was changed.
Rossell said during the video hearing Tuesday that an order issued Friday by the Wisconsin Supreme Court extends the current video conferencing orders until each circuit court in the state develops a plan that complies with certain requirements.
When that means in-person court hearings will return is unknown, Rossell said. Alexander previously requested a court trial instead of a jury trial.
According to the criminal complaint filed October 2019, Alexander is alleged to have sexually assaulted a man the previous month after the two spent a night together sharing beer and cocaine.
The assault was reported the next day. Alexander has been in custody on a parole hold since Sept. 5.
Alexander’s attorney, Michael Cicchini, said during the hearing that he’s waiting on DNA evidence — and the timing of that could cause a concern, Rossell said.
“I don’t want to have a situation where we go through a trial, I don’t know the outcome of it, but if it was a guilty determination, then the issue becomes if the DNA evidence comes in later, then the court pursuant to the statute has to hit the ‘redo’ button,” Rossell said. “I’m not very interested in doing things multiple times.”
Alexander gave the judge a lengthy statement during the hearing, claiming the DNA evidence will exonerate him.
But the judge stopped him, as Tuesday wasn’t the start of the trial.
“I can’t decide the case today,” he said. “I don’t have the witnesses in front of me. ... I don’t have any of the evidence. I’m not going to have the evidence until the day of trial.”
Alexander was 19 when he was convicted in the stabbing death of his 27-year-old cousin, Robert Brantley.
According to a Kenosha News story about the trial, the two had been together at a house in the 1500 block of 68th Street in March 1985 and had gotten into an argument, followed by a fight.
Alexander stabbed Brantley in the neck, possibly after the victim had threatened him with a bottle. Alexander was released on parole on May 2, 2017.
Kenosha police continue following leads in the disappearance of a city man who was last seen 10 days ago.
But so far, the mystery into the case continues.
Lt. Joe Nosalik on Tuesday morning confirmed there aren’t any new developments in the disappearance of Rosalio Gutierrez Jr., who was last seen May 17 at 8:30 p.m.
“We’re still following a bunch of leads, and they have not panned out yet,” Nosalik said. “We’re looking at it as a top priority.”
Gutierrez, 40, is described as a 6-foot-1, 280-pound Hispanic male with brown hair and brown eyes.
According to a criminal complaint filed last week, the woman Gutierrez has been dating was unable to reach him and went to his home at the Woodcreek Apartments.
There, police reported signs of a violent struggle in the apartment. The complaint stated the woman found the sliding glass door to the apartment open and looking inside saw “furniture had been moved around, an area rug was gone and there appeared to be large amounts of blood on the floor and furniture.”
Police also located Gutierrez’s vehicles parked outside.
Also last week, Zachariah Anderson, 39, of Mequon, who authorities describe as the focus of the investigation into Gutierrez’s disappearance, was charged with stalking him and his girlfriend.
Anderson, the woman’s former boyfriend and father of her children, was alleged to have been jealous of the new relationship. The complaint against Anderson alleges he had tracked the woman’s movements, watched her when she was with Gutierrez and that he took items from Gutierrez’s vehicle.
A restraining order the woman filed against Anderson was denied in Washington County Circuit Court in January. Court records indicate a new order was filed last week.
Anderson remains in custody on a $35,000 bond.
Kenosha police are asking that anyone with information about the case contact the Detective Bureau at 262-605-5203. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Kenosha Area Crime Stoppers at 262-656-7333.
Kenosha News reporter Deneen Smith contributed to this report.
The inability to have a live stream at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Thursday morning postponed a sentencing hearing for a 22-year-old Kenosha man who was convicted of seven criminal counts relating to a February 2019 crash.
Alejandro Paz-Garcia will return to court for a sentencing hearing June 10 at 2 p.m. The hearing Thursday had been scheduled to stream on YouTube because of COVID-19 restrictions.
A jury convicted Paz-Garcia in January of felony first-degree recklessly endangering safety, three misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and three misdemeanor counts of operating while intoxicated causing injury.
According to the criminal complaint, Paz-Garcia ran through a red light westbound at 54th Street, struck a northbound Nissan and a southbound Jeep that both were passing through the intersection of Sheridan Road and 54th Street.
Paz-Garcia's Honda then struck a trolley pole and then hit the parking garage on the west side of the intersection. The defendant, his passenger and both the driver and passenger of the Jeep all required medical treatment.
Nine criminal charges were filed Thursday afternoon in Kenosha County Circuit Court against a 40-year-old Kenosha man who was arrested Wednesday by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Rene M. Palma faces six felony counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, two felony counts of selling/possessing/using/transporting machine guns and one felony count of fleeing/eluding.
If convicted of all charges, Palma faces a total 75 years, six months in prison and a fine of $180,000. Court Commissioner Loren Keating ordered a $200,000 cash bond at Palma’s initial appearance Thursday.
Palma will return to court for a preliminary hearing Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
According to the criminal complaint:
A confidential informant in April told police he had sold a firearm to the defendant and that he had previously sold 13 other firearms to Palma in the last 2 ½ to 3 years.
In a communication through Facebook on May 17, the informant allegedly told Palma of a seller who had fully automatic firearms and conversion items, which convert semi-automatic firearms to fully automatic, for sale. The seller the informant was referring to was an undercover agent with the ATF.
The following day, the agent and Palma agreed through text message that the defendant would pay the agent $3,000 for six firearms, including one with a conversion device. The agent stated in the complaint that the converted weapon is capable of firing more than one shot without manual reloading.
On Wednesday at the Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club, 3300 Brumback Blvd., in Somers, the transaction was completed.
When officers attempted to arrest Palma, he allegedly fled the scene in his motor vehicle. As he fled through the parking lot, the defendant discarded the container with the firearms, which were located by police.
High bond requested
Assistant District Attorney Carli McNeill requested a $300,000 cash bond Thursday.
“This is how firearms end up in the hands of felons on the street, and this is how firearms that end up on the street illegally are used in the commission of crimes,” she said.
McNeill said one of the guns previously sold by the informant to the defendant was found in northern Illinois and connected to an attempted homicide.
“That illustrates the dangerousness of the defendant’s actions in selling guns in this way,” she said.
Palma’s attempt to flee after the transaction Wednesday put countless lives in danger, McNeill said.
“Instead of submitting to the ATF and allowing himself to be arrested, the defendant attempted to flee,” she said. “He endangered law enforcement; he endangered any people who were in the area; and he clearly showed he is a flight risk in this case.”
McNeill stated in court that Palma was convicted in Lake County, Ill., in 2010 of manufacturing/delivering 15 to 100 grams of cocaine and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Palma also has a felony conviction in Kenosha County in 2007 of falsely acting as a public official, a charge that arose out of a shots fired incident. McNeill said in that case a shot was fired into a vehicle, and during the course of that investigation, Palma represented that he was a North Chicago police officer.
In the Kenosha County case, he received 18 months in prison.
McNeill said during a search warrant of Palma’s home, police found three vacuumed-sealed bags of cash that she stated totaled more than $175,000.
Palma’s attorney, Laura Walker, requested a $10,000 cash bond.
“These are allegations at this point,” she said. “We haven’t even been through a preliminary hearing. He is entitled to a presumption of innocence, which he is asserting.
“... I’m sure the firearms that the ATF put into play during this transaction were not ones that were capable of firing. What I’m saying is I don’t believe that anyone was in danger at any time during this controlled buy that was done by the ATF where they’re attempting to get Mr. Palma to purchase firearms from them.”
Walker said Palma has local ties to the community and is a critically-acclaimed tattoo artist. She added that the amount of cash taken from his home doesn’t necessarily indicate any illegal activities.
“That is mostly a cash business,” she said. “I understand there was cash that was found in his house. That certainly is not against the law. He doesn’t have to use a bank if he doesn’t want to. There’s nothing illegal about him having cash in his house. He works in a cash business.”
Walker told the court a much lower bond was appropriate.
“It no way near calls for a $300,000 bond,” she said. “Those are things we hear of in homicides.”
“These are extremely serious allegations,” he said. “You’re dealing with allegations of several firearms, including automatic weapons that are referred to as machine guns, it gives pause to anyone I would suspect, including this court.”