Since 2019, during his first term as Governor of Wisconsin, at least 884 convicted prisoners have been released under Evers Parole Commission, including more than 300 convicted murderers, attempted murderers and child rapists.
Democrats and many Republicans have taken up a call to arms in the United States against the criminal justice system, often calling for reforms, such as, reduced sentencing and early release of non-violent offenders or minor drug possession charges, etc. However most, at least publicly, also agree that any changes should not benefit murderers, rapists and other violent offenders in like manner.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who tends to float under the radar compared to other radical left-wing Democrats, seems to be upping the anti when it comes to criminal justice reform and the restoration of freedom for the states most violent convicted offenders.
The list, from 2019 through 2021, includes some of the most brutal killers in Wisconsin history and some of the most high-profile. The cases span the state, from Kenosha to Rib Mountain, Wisconsin Right Now has documented through a public records request.
These were DISCRETIONARY paroles. That means the Evers/Barnes administration’s Parole Commission chairman made a CHOICE to release the criminals. Many were serving life sentences, which don’t qualify for mandatory release. In other cases, the spreadsheet of paroles provided to WRN by the Parole Commission did not include mandatory released inmates. In other words, the Evers/Barnes administration could have kept these criminals behind bars but made a purposeful decision not to do so. You can check the parole dates out yourself by putting the killers’ names into the state Department of Corrections database and clicking on “movement.”
The list of those paroled early, obtained by Freedom of Information requests and compiled by WRN is both staggering and shocking.
- 1st Degree Intentional Homicide 171
- 1st-Degree Reckless Homicide 62
- Felony Murder 18
- 2nd-Degree Intentional Homicide 18
- 2nd Degree Reckless Homicide 3
- Homicide by Intoxicated Use of Vehicle 2
- 1st Degree Sexual Assault 24
- 2nd Degree Sexual Assault 15
- 1st Degree Sexual Assault of Child 26
- 2nd Degree Sexual Assault of Child 5
- Repeated Sexual Assault of Same Child 13
How brutal are these killers? Carl Beletsky, then 39, of Oconomowoc, shot and decapitated his bank manager wife, Kathleen, with a large kitchen knife and then tried to burn her head in a wood-burning stove in 1982. Newspaper articles from the time say that Beletsky, who was worried she was going to leave him, placed Kathleen’s headless body in the trunk of a car, dumped the body in a cornfield, and then went to drink liquor.
Beletsky, now 79, was paroled in August 2019 by the Evers administration and now lives in Hatley, Wisconsin.
There are many cases that rival Beletsky’s in their outright brutality. And don’t think they’re all old. The average age of the released killers and attempted killers is 54, and they range in age from 39 to 79.
Even though they’ve only been out for three years at the most, 16 of them have already re-offended or violated terms of their parole, Corrections records show, including one man accused of strangulation.
Joseph Roeling shot and killed his mother, stepfather, and 8-year-old half-sister while they slept in 1982 inside the family’s mobile home in Fond du Lac County. Roeling told a sister he was planning to get rid of everyone in the family to have free run of the home, according to a newspaper article from the time.
Roeling, 56, was paroled by the Evers administration in June 2021 and lives in Oshkosh today.
In another particularly heinous case, Terrance Shaw randomly murdered a young mother, Susan Erickson, who worked at a La Crosse hospital, raping, stabbing, and strangling her after spotting her through her home’s picture window while driving past. They were strangers. He called it “one really bad day.”
Today Shaw, 73, lives in Onalaska.
Roy Barnes, 62, lives in Milwaukee. In 1999, he murdered the brother of one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims and received 45 years in prison for it. Barnes tortured the victim and used his ear as an ashtray, according to a 2000 Green Bay Press-Gazette article. In 1998, the article says, he committed “a hammer attack on another man.”
Evers’ administration paroled Barnes in September 2020.
Some of the sex-offenders released:
The freed child rapists are extremely disturbing cases too; one man paroled in 2021, Gary Frank, 54, is a convicted domestic abuser who sexually assaulted a female relative, who was under age 13 at the time. He now lives in Milwaukee.
A former pastor, Gordon Larson, 69, made the parolee list. He abused a girl when she was aged 4-5 to 9 years old, sometimes in his office at church. Evers’ administration released him early too. In 2014, he received an 18-year prison sentence in Waukesha courts. Today he lives in Kewaunee.
When Richard Garcia was paroled by Evers’ administration in 2020, Fox 6 falsely reported that he had served his sentence. He had not. In 1985, Garcia burglarized a stranger’s home and sexually assaulted an elderly resident. Eight years later, he sexually assaulted two children, ages 4 and 9, the station reported. Parolees do receive state supervision; he will be on GPS monitoring. Garcia, 57, lives today in Waukesha.
Patrick Appel, 53, a registered sex offender, was released on parole in September 2020 from a first-degree sexual assault of a child conviction but is already back behind bars. He is accused of possessing child pornography in Price County.
The list goes on and on, and is really worth the read if you can stomach it.
In 2019, Evers nominated Black Lives Matter supporting city councilman, John Tate, as chairman of the Parole Commission. Tate was an outspoken advocate for prison reforms and reduction in sentencing. Given the mile long list of hardened-violent criminals he released, it must be asked if Tate intentionally chose the most dangerous to live free once again among law abiding Wisconsinites.
After outcry from victims of those released early, Tate has since resigned from his post. Evers, however, knew full well who Tate was, shared in vision for prison reforms and had no reason not to fire him if he didn’t approve of Tate’s actions over the course of his term.