Our lantern will be lit from 11/12/20 to 11/23/20 for Gerson V. Alvarez-Franco, Jaime A. Lemus, Cindy Bennett, Olivia T. Licato, Melissa Matz, Lavar Wallace, Ryelee Manente-Powell, and Daniel Sullivan...
Lantern Project: Since October 2013, Hope House has joined with other domestic violence programs around the state by implementing the Lantern Project. For our part in this statewide project, we added to the lamppost in front of Hope House a purple wreath. We will turn on the light for a week every time there is a death related to domestic violence in Wisconsin. We will post information online about the person(s) that was killed. If you drive by our building and see our lamppost on, please reflect on the deadly impact that domestic violence has on our communities. We know the list of stories we post here is incomplete. We strive to learn about and share these stories but know that there are some that we and the media miss. If you see a news story of a death in WI related to domestic violence and don't see it posted here, please feel free to let us know about it here. Thank you.
September 28th, 2020: Gerson V. Alvarez-Franco, Age 37 and Jaime A. Lemus Age 30, Green Bay
Police say the man charged with slashing a Green Bay police officer’s face Tuesday morning also shot two men to death on the city’s east side. Police arrested Oscar F. Lemus-Franco, 28, of Green Bay, after a chase Tuesday morning on suspicion of killing two of his relatives, Gerson V. Alvarez-Franco, 37, and Jaime A. Lemus, 30, according to Green Bay police. Officers found Alvarez-Franco and Lemus dead from gunshot wounds around 8:30 p.m. Monday at 541 Clement St.
Green Bay police are recommending the Brown County District Attorney’s Office charge Lemus-Franco with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted homicide in connection with the men’s deaths.
Prosecutors already charged Lemus-Franco on Tuesday with first-degree recklessly endangering safety, mayhem, battery to an officer, fleeing police and resisting arrest following a chase that left two officers and Lemus-Franco injured.
According to police and a criminal complaint, officers spotted Lemus-Franco around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday driving on the east side of Green Bay on Humboldt Road. Police had already identified him as a suspect in the deaths of Alvarez-Franco and Lemus. Officers attempted to stop Lemus-Franco, but he drove away. Police chased him, with speeds reaching 100 mph at times and tried to stop the vehicle with spike strips and pursuit intervention technique maneuvers, according to the complaint. Lemus-Franco eventually crashed into a concrete barrier on Dousman Street at Broadway, according to the criminal complaint. According to the criminal complaint, an officer yelled for Lemus-Franco to show his hands, but he looked at him “with a thousand-yard stare” and charged. Lemus-Franco swung at the officer and ran away. Several officers chased him, saw he had a knife and stopped him with Tasers.
Police then realized the officer Lemus-Franco had swung at had been stabbed in the face. Another officer said the officer was bleeding profusely from the face and jaw and it was evident he was in shock. A third officer said the cut extended from his right eye, across his face, through his lips and down to his collarbone. Officers found two knives near Lemus-Franco when he was arrested. Officers also treated Lemus-Franco for self-inflicted wounds to his wrist. He was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to a Milwaukee hospital for additional treatment, police said. The officer who was stabbed had surgery and was released from the hospital. Another officer was also hospitalized for a head and neck injury suffered during the incident.
September 29th, 2020: Cindy Bennett, Age 62, Superior
Superior police have arrested a man in connection to the death of his mother in the city’s Central Park neighborhood. Authorities responded to a home in that area just before 7 a.m Tuesday. They were responding to a 911 call reporting a person in need of medical attention. Once on scene, they found Cindy Bennett had sustained “significant trauma.” She died at the scene. Police arrested Cindy’s 39-year old son. Authorities say the two got into a fight and she died from injuries she got during the altercation. The son is currently being held at the Douglas County Jail. Superior Police say there is no danger to the public at this time.
October 3rd, 2020: Olivia T. Licato, Age 24, Milwaukee
Police are investigating a domestic violence-related homicide that happened near N. 76th Street and W. Locust Street around 2:20 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. A 25-year-old male suspect shot his 24-year-old girlfriend, according to police. She was taken to the hospital where she died from her injuries. Police are still investigating the situation, but say there is “evidence of alcohol use.” The suspect was taken into custody. Police are not releasing any more details at this time.
October 21st, 2020: Melissa Matz, Age 36, and Lavar Wallace, Age 40 Omro
A 52-year-old Omro man has been charged with two counts of homicide in connection with the deaths of two people last week. Andrew Clark made his initial appearance in court Wednesday afternoon in Winnebago County, where Court Commissioner Bryan Keberlein set his cash bond at $2 million, according to court records. Police found two people dead about 7:30 a.m. Oct. 21 at a home in the 2800 block of Elo Road. They have been identified as Melissa Matz, 36, of Omro, who had previously been identified as Melissa Clark, and Lavar Wallace, 40, of Appleton, according to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office. Clark made the initial 911 call and reported that his house was on fire, that someone had broken in and that his wife, Melissa Matz, was not breathing, Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz said at a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon. “When officers arrived, they detected a heavy odor of gasoline, or a similar accelerant, in the air,” Matz said.
Police found burned rags that appeared to have been soaked in an accelerant near one of the victims, along with a candle that “appeared to have been used as a makeshift fuse,” he said.
A different man, Michael Draine, 33, of Hudson, Iowa, was arrested earlier this week and charged with harboring or aiding a felon, according to court records. His initial court appearance took place Monday and another hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 9. Police determined that Clark, Matz, Wallace and Draine were together Oct. 20 at “various establishments” and Clark and Matz began to argue about money, the sheriff said. When they got back to the home on Elo Road, Clark shot and killed Matz and Wallace, then Clark and Draine tried to start a fire and left “in an attempt to create an alibi,” he said. Clark is scheduled to appear in Winnebago County court Nov. 4.
October 21st, 2020: Ryelee Manente-Powell, Age 18, Waupaca
A fight over stolen exotic reptiles–some of them poisonous–ended in murder in Waupaca County, according to documents obtained by Action 2 News. These documents name the 18-year-old victim’s mother as one of the suspects. Investigators estimate the reptiles stolen from a home in the Town of Dayton to be worth more than $27,000. However, it was humans in this case that proved more deadly than the animals, according to the court documents. Family have identified the victim as Ryelee Manente. A GoFundMe has been set up for funeral expenses. Charges of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide have been filed against William C. Zelenski, 44, and Tiffany R. Powell, 34. Powell was the victim’s mother.
October 26th, 2020: Daniel Sullivan, Age 76, Amherst
A 44-year-old man is in custody in the Portage County Jail on $500,000 cash bond after investigators said he is the suspect in his father’s death.
According to a news release, around noon Monday, dispatch received a report of an incident on Fountain Grove Road in Amherst. Upon arrival, deputies said Daniel Sullivan, 76, was fatally injured after being struck by a vehicle driven by his son, Daniel Sullivan Jr., 44. Investigators said Sullivan Jr. intentionally struck his father with the vehicle. He’s currently in custody at the Portage County Jail. Authorities are recommending he be charged with first-degree intentional homicide. An initial appearance is scheduled for Nov. 9. A criminal complaint has not yet been filed.