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    The former Milwaukee Election Commission deputy director charged with fraudulently requesting military absentee ballots just days before last month’s election posted a $2,500 signature bond in her initial court appearance Friday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Kimberly Zapata was represented by an attorney from the Thomas More Society, a conservative law firm that helped former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman in his taxpayer-funded review of the 2020 election. Zapata  has been out of custody since charges were filed against her early last month. She is charged with misconduct in public office, a felony, and three misdemeanor counts of making a false statement to obtain an absentee ballot.

      A message spray-painted on a two-story Janesville rental home accuses a tenant of not paying her rent. The vandalism makes a public spectacle of a landlord’s dispute with a renter he’s trying to evict and also shines a light on the need for affordable housing in the city. The words “Carol Daly owes $6,000 in back rent!” are scrawled in big black letters on the house. Daly says she won't pay rent if the house isn't maintained. Her landlord, Ryan Wehrwein, is trying to evict her. He says he's made some repairs. It's 350 eviction cases filed this year in Rock County as COVID-19 relief programs fade away and a local affordable housing shortage is hitting renters hard.

      A woman charged in a Wisconsin murder plans to argue that she is not guilty of homicide because she was a coerced victim of human trafficking. Tanya Stammer is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and armed robbery in connection with the March 2021 death of Brian Porsche. Stammer is scheduled to stand trial next summer. In another case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in July that a 2008 law that absolves trafficking victims of criminal liability for offenses committed as a direct result of being trafficked extends to first-degree intentional homicide.

      A woman accused of killing and dismembering the owner of a Chicago boarding house where she lived has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the slaying. Thirty-six-year-old Sandra Kolalou was charged in October in the death of her 69-year-old landlord, Frances Walker, whose partial remains were found in a freezer in the boarding house on Chicago’s northwest side. Prosecutors say Walker had served Kolalou with an eviction notice before she was killed. The Chicago-Sun Times reports Kolalou pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges of first-degree murder and concealing a homicidal death, and a misdemeanor count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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