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Bond Set for Man Accused of Trying to Hire Killer

By: Chris Woodard Email
By: Chris Woodard Email

UPDATED Wednesday, November 19, 2008 --- 7:55 a.m.

According to the Janesville Gazette:

JANESVILLE -- The man accused of hiring a hit man to kill his estranged wife and her boyfriend must remain in jail while awaiting trial, a Rock County judge decided this afternoon.

Joseph R. Chrislaw Sr. , 46, asked the judge to reduce his bail from $30,000 to $1,500.

Judge James Daley denied his request.

Chrislaw is charged with two counts of soliciting first-degree intentional homicide.

Chrislaw is suspected of hiring a man from the Hells Angels motorcycle gang to kill his estranged wife, Inna M. Cheremisina, 34, and her boyfriend, Janesville City Councilman Yuri Rashkin, 33, according to the criminal complaint.

But Chrislaw actually attempted hiring an undercover Janesville police officer posing as a contract killer, according to the criminal complaint.

Chrislaw has pleaded not guilty.

He is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 11 for a status hearing.

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UPDATED: Friday, September 12, 2008 --- 9:00 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

Official charges have been filed against a man accused of trying to hire someone to kill his estranged wife and her new boyfriend.

Police say 46-year-old Joseph Chrislaw Senior gave an undercover police officer 2-thousand dollars as a down payment for the murders.

Chrislaw thought the officer was a member of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang.

Chrislaw made his first court appearance Friday afternoon and one of the people in attendance was city council member Yuri Rashkin who Chrislaw allegedly wanted to have killed. Rashkin says he was there because he feared Chrislaw would be released.

He says, "I think Mr. Chrislaw has made some terrible choices and I don't know what other choices he is capable of making."

In a criminal complaint released Friday Chrislaw tells a police informant his Ukranian wife left him and moved in with Rashkin when she got her green card and that's when Chrislaw came up with the murder plot.

Appearing from jail on video conference, Chrislaw first hid from cameras and then argued for a low bond.

Chrislaw says, "I can do a signature bond. I ain't going anywhere. I got no reason. It's just stupid."

A prosecuting attorney argued for and received bail set at 30-thousand dollars. He said he had concerns that Chrislaw would flee, possibly to see a new girlfriend in Ukraine.

Rashkin says, "Judging by the situation it appears as though this is something that will accomplish the goal of keeping everyone safe."

Several of Chrislaw's family members spoke to NBC 15 after the hearing, all of them saying they were shocked and that something like this is completely out of his character.

Along with the 30-thousand dollar bond, the court commissioner ordered Chrislaw not to contact the victims or the informant and his passport was taken away.

His next court appearance is scheduled for September 22nd.

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UPDATED Friday, September 12, 2008 --- 1:20 a.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- A Janesville City Council member says he's worried a man accused of paying an undercover officer to have him and his girlfriend killed will be released on bail.

Janesville police arrested the 46-year-old Janesville man Wednesday morning on tentative charges of conspiracy and solicitation to commit homicide. Online court records show formal charges haven't been filed yet.

Police say the man gave an undercover officer $2,000 Tuesday to kill his estranged wife and Janesville City Council member Yuri Rashkin, who have been dating.

Rashkin says he's worried the man will be released on bond after an initial court appearance Friday afternoon. He says the couple can't live under police protection.

"Will our lives be in jeopardy again?" he asked.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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UPDATE: September 11, 9:00 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

A Janesville man is in custody after allegedly trying to hire a contract killer.

Police say the man wanted his estranged wife and her new boyfriend dead.

Janesville city councilman Yuri Rashkin thought the divorce between his girlfriend and her husband was going well until he got a surprise visit from police this week telling him his life was in danger.

When Rashkin began dating a new person he never imagined it would land him in the crosshairs of a murder plot.

He says, "It was my impression that the situation was amicable. Clearly that was misjudged."

Upset with losing his wife to Rashkin, 46 year old Joseph Chrislaw Sr. has been arrested for allegedly trying to have the couple murdered.

Janesville Police Chief Neil Mahan says, "This was totally a domestic situation where the husband was really despondent and angry about losing his wife."

Police say Chrislaw was so angry he began looking for someone to kill the couple. He didn't know the person he contacted was a confidential police informant who told police and an undercover officer got involved.

Mahan says, "They had some pretty detailed conversations about the motive and those kinds of things."

Police say Chrislaw met with the undercover officer on Tuesday night and gave him a big chunk of money to make the murders happen. He was under the impression that the officer was associated with the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and had experience with contract killing.

Under police protection, Rashkin and his girlfriend waited.

Rashkin says, "It was just complete pins and needles because we didn't know. We were hoping until the last minute that it was some kind of misunderstanding."

Afraid for the couple's safety police moved in, arresting Chrislaw at his home in a Janesville apartment complex Wednesday night.

Rashkin says, "Thank goodness it didn't go farther. I'm glad they were able to catch it and handle it as well and as professionally as they did because the alternative is unthinkable."

Police say they don't think Rashkin's position on the city council had anything to do with the plot, saying it was strictly a domestic issue.

Chrislaw is now sitting in the Rock county jail awaiting his first court appearance Friday morning.

FULL PRESS RELEASE
Date: September 11, 2008
Location & Time: 8:45 a.m.
By: Neil Mahan, Chief of Police (608)755-3088

In September of 2008 the Janesville Police Department was provided confidential information that

Joseph Roy Chrislaw Sr., age 46
733 Kellogg Ave. Apt 3
Janesville, Wisconsin

was trying to arrange the murder of his estranged wife,

Inna M Cheremisina, age 34
Janesville, Wisconsin

and

Yuri Rashkin, age 33
Janesville Wisconsin

Yuri Rashkin is a current City of Janesville Councilmember, however there is no information this crime is related to Rashkin's position of City Councilmember.

On September 9, 2008 in the evening hours a Janesville Police undercover officer posing as a contract killer met with Chrislaw in Janesville. Chrislaw gave the undercover officer an agreed upon amount of cash to murder Inna Cheremisina and Yuri Rashkin. A second meeting between the undercover officer and Chrislaw was planned for September 10, 2008. The undercover officer and Chrislaw were in phone contact on September 10, 2008 when Chrislaw postponed the murders that were to occur on the weekend of September 13-14 due to Chrislaw's alibi concerns.

A team of Janesville Police Officers served a search warrant at Chrislaw's residence on September 10, 2008 at approximately 10:30 pm. Chrislaw was inside his residence and surrendered to officers without incident.

The intended victims Cheremisina and Rashkin were provided police protection during this operation. At this stage of the investigation we have no information there are additional persons involved.

Chrislaw was arrested for violating:
Wisconsin Statute 939.30 (2)... Solicitation Class F Felony
Wisconsin Statute 939.31...Conspiracy Class B Felony

and is being held in the Rock County Jail. Chrislaw's first court appearance will be on Friday, September 12, 2008 at 4:00 pm. This investigation is ongoing.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008 --- 2:05 p.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- Janesville police say they've arrested a man who tried to hire an undercover officer to kill his estranged wife and a Janesville City Council member.

Janesville police arrested Joseph R. Chrislaw Sr., 46, of 733 Kellogg Ave., Apt. 3, about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday after a search warrant was executed at his home.

Police say the man gave an undercover officer money Tuesday to kill his estranged wife and Janesville City Council member Yuri Rashkin.

Earlier this month, Janesville police received information that Chrislaw was trying to arrange the murder of his estranged wife, Inna M. Cheremisina, 34, of Janesville and Rashkin, 33, according to the release.

He has not yet been formally charged by the Rock County district attorney.

In a phone call Wednesday, the man asked the undercover officer to postpone the killings because he was concerned about his alibi. Police say the murders were to take place this weekend.

A police statement says the plot does not appear to be related to Rashkin's city council position.


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