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UPDATE: Steelworker pleads guilty in woman's death

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UPDATED Thursday, July 17, 2014 --- 2:02 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Massachusetts steelworker has pleaded guilty in his former girlfriend's death.

Prosecutors charged 40-year-old Phillip Byrd with first-degree intentional homicide in April. They believe he shot 43-year-old Cheryl Gilberg during a struggle at her Mazomanie home in February.

Investigators wrote in court documents that Byrd told them he and Gilberg had magical chemistry together until she stuck her revolver in his mouth. He knocked the gun out of his mouth and tackled her; the gun went off twice as they wrestled. He saw Gilberg lying on the floor, thought she was still alive and got frightened. He fled to another woman's trailer.

Byrd pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree intentional homicide in a deal with prosecutors Thursday. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, July 17, 2014 --- 11:02 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Massachusetts steelworker is set to enter a plea in his former girlfriend's death.

Dane County prosecutors charged 40-year-old Phillip Byrd with first-degree intentional homicide in April. They believe he shot 43-year-old Cheryl Gilberg during a struggle at her home in Mazomanie in February.

Investigators wrote in court documents that Byrd told them he and Gilberg had magical chemistry together until she stuck her revolver in his mouth. He knocked the gun out of his mouth and tackled her; the gun went off twice as they wrestled. He saw Gilberg lying on the floor, thought she was still alive and got frightened. He fled to another woman's trailer.

Byrd has a plea hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon. His attorney didn't immediately return a message.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, April 3, 2014 --- 2:47 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A steelworker from Massachusetts has been charged in the fatal shooting of a Mazomanie woman in February.

Online court records show 39-year-old Phillip Byrd was charged Thursday in the death of 43-year-old Cheryl Gilberg. Investigators found Gilberg's body in her home. She had been shot in the head.

Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney said previously that he believed the shooting was a result of domestic abuse.

Investigators say Byrd is Gilberg's former boyfriend. He has been held since Feb. 24 in the Rock County jail on charges of failing to pay child support.

Investigators previously described Byrd as a Janesville resident. They said Thursday he was arrested in that city. He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday April 2, 2014 --- 3:40 p.m.

DANE COUNTY, Wis.---The Dane County Sheriff announced Wednesday afternoon that Phillip Bryd would be charged in the death of a Mazomanie woman.

Phillip Byrd has been a suspect for weeks in the shooting death of Cheryl Gilberg. Byrd and Gilberg knew each other. She was killed in late February inside her home.

Bryd has been held in Rock County on unrelated charges.

Sheriff Dave Mahoney today said Bryd will be charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide. He is expected to appear in a Dane County courtroom Thursday.

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UPDATED Wednesday April 2, 2014 --- 10:47 a.m.

DANE COUNTY, Wis -- The Dane County Sheriff's Office says the Sheriff will hold a news conference on the Mazomanie homicide investigation.

The news conference is scheduled for 3:00pm.

On February 23rd Cheryl Gilberg was found shot in her home. A 39-year-old Janesville man being held on unrelated charges in Rock County is the suspect.

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UPDATED Thursday, March 20, 2014 --- 10:12 a.m.

MAZOMANIE, Wis. (AP) -- About two dozen Dane County sheriff's deputies have resumed a foot search for evidence in a homicide investigation.

The sheriff's department says with improved temperatures and melting snow, the deputies are once again searching along Highway 14 between Mazomanie and Middleton Thursday as they investigate the death of Cheryl Gilberg.

Among other things, they're looking for a pink revolver missing from the victim's home. Authorities say they've received citizen offers to help in the search, but because of the sensitive nature of the evidence, only sworn law enforcement officers are participating.

The 43-year-old Gilberg was shot to death Feb. 23. Detectives want to talk to anyone who saw a black SUV parked along Highway 14 between Mazomanie and Middleton on that day.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, March 20, 2014 --- 8:21 a.m.

Dane Co. deputies say they are continuing to search for evidence in the Cheryl Gilberg Homicide investigation.

Gilberg is the Mazomanie woman shot and killed last month inside her home. Phillip Byrd is the suspect in the case and is in custody.

Thursday morning deputies resumed a foot search along Highway 14 between Mazomanie and Middleton. They are looking for a number of items, including the Charter Arms Pink Lady .38 caliber revolver missing from Gilberg’s home. The Sheriff’s Office asks that drivers traveling along this stretch of highway be aware of their presence and drive with caution.

Anyone with information related to this investigation can call the Dane County tip line at (608) 284-6900.

The Sheriff’s Office has received a number of calls from citizens volunteering their help in the search. Considering the sensitive nature of the evidence being sought, only sworn law enforcement will be permitted to search.

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 5, 2014 --- 4:41 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities are searching for a pink revolver owned by a Wisconsin woman who was shot to death last month.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said Wednesday that detectives are searching for a Charter Arms Pink Lady Undercover Lite .38 caliber revolver taken from Cheryl Gilberg's home in Mazomanie.

The 43-year-old Gilberg was shot to death on Feb. 23. Mahoney says a 39-year-old Janesville man being held on unrelated charges in Rock County is the suspect. The man was called a person of interest last week.

Detectives want to talk to anyone who saw a black SUV parked along Highway 14 between Mazomanie and Middleton on Feb. 23.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports snowmobilers have been asked to be on the lookout for any potential evidence as trails reopen.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 5, 2014 --- 3:17 p.m.

The Dane Co. Sheriff says that Phillip Byrd is now the suspect in the death of Cheryl Gilberg.

Gilberg is the Mazomanie woman shot and killed last month inside her home.

Byrd is still in custody in Rock Co. on other charges.

The Sheriff asks anyone who had contact with Gilberg or Byrd the weekend of Feb 21st to contact police.

Authorities are also looking for a gun missing from Gilberg's home. The gun is colored pink. With snowmobile trails open again, officials hope the pink gun will turn up. If you see it, they ask that you do not touch it, and call police. For a picture of the gun, click HERE

The Sheriff also asks anyone who say a black SUV parked along Highway 14 between Mazomanie and Middleton on Sunday, Feb. 23rd to call their tip line at 608-284-6900.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 4, 2014 --- 3:50 p.m.

A man named a person of interest in a Mazomanie homicide case appeared in a Rock Co. courtroom Tuesday.

Phillip Byrd faces two drug charges and two bail jumping charges.

According to the criminal complaint, investigators found prescription pills belonging to Cheryl Gilberg when they arrested Byrd in Janesville.

Gilberg is the Mazomanie woman shot and killed last month inside her home.

So far no arrests have been made in her death. Again, Byrd has only been called a person of interest in that case.

Byrd has another court date in Rock Co. later this month.

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UPDATED Friday, February 28, 2014 --- 3:21 p.m.

MAZOMANIE, Wis. (AP) -- The Dane County sheriff reports progress in the investigation into a woman's shooting death, but no arrests have been made.

A family member found 43-year-old Cheryl Gilberg fatally shot at her home in the Village of Mazomanie Sunday evening. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

Authorities have named a Janesville man as a person of interest. The 39-year-old man is being held in the Rock County Jail on unrelated charges.

Sheriff Dave Mahoney said Friday that detectives have talked with other people who may have been involved in the shooting, but declined to say who they were.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports authorities have been searching along Highway 14 between Black Earth and Cross Plains, but the sheriff won't say what they're looking for.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, February 27, 2014 --- 3:44 p.m.

The Dane County Sheriff's Department confirms they are searching an area near Black Earth for evidence related to Sunday's homicide of Mazomanie resident Cheryl Gilberg.

16 officers are searching a six or seven mile stretch along Highway 14. They've been searching the area since midday.

The sheriff's office says they will be out searching as long as weather permits until they find the evidence they are looking for.

They will search until the run out of daylight, and will resume the search first thing tomorrow if needed.

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UPDATED Thursday, February 27, 2014 --- 3:26 p.m.

Dane Co. Sheriff officials confirm that authorities are searching near Black Earth for evidence in the Cheryl Gilberg homicide investigation.

Dispatchers confirmed with NBC15 News Thursday afternoon that authorities are searching the general area of Highway 14 near Black Earth.

Gilberg was found in a Mazomanie home Sunday night. An autopsy by the Dane County medical examiner determined Gilberg was shot to death.

Phillip Byrd has been named a person of interest in the case. He is in custody on charges unrelated to the case.

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UPDATED: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 --- 7:41 p.m.

The Dane Co. Sheriff's Office says 39-year-old Phillip Byrd is being held in the Rock Co. Jail tonight, on a drug related charges. Saying he has not been charged in the death of Cheryl Gilberg.

Facebook searches show photos of Gilberg and Byrd together as recently as February 7th. The official statement from the Dane Co. Sheriff's Office is that the two knew one another, but their relationship is unknown at this time. However someone who NBC15 spoke with says they were friends with Cheryl, and they say she and Byrd broke up a couple weeks ago after dating.

Byrd has a criminal history dating back to 1993, that includes cases involving OWI and failure to pay child support. In 1996 he had a temporary restraining order against him.

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UPDATED Wednesday, February 26, 2014 --- 4:40 p.m.

Dane Co. Sheriff officials have named 39-year-old Phillip Byrd of Janesville as a person of interest in the death of Cheryl Gilberg.

Gilberg was found in a Mazomanie home Sunday night. An autopsy by the Dane County medical examiner determined Gilberg was shot to death.

Byrd is being held in the Rock Co. Jail on other charges.

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 25, 2014 --- 5:52 p.m.

MAZOMANIE, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities say a woman found shot to death in her south-central Wisconsin home had notified law enforcement that she was a victim of domestic abuse.

The Dane County medical examiner's office says 43-year-old Cheryl Gilberg was shot in the head. Her death was ruled a homicide.

A family member found Gilberg in her home in the Village of Mazomanie Sunday evening.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney says Gilberg contacted his office earlier this month to report the domestic incident that happened in December. Mahoney says Gilberg also was obtaining a temporary restraining order.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports investigators have talked to that person and he has been cooperative. Mahoney says nothing points to Gilberg's death as an act of domestic violence.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 25, 2014 --- 4:06 p.m.

MAZOMANIE, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities in south-central Wisconsin are calling the death of a 43-year-old woman a homicide.

A family member found Cheryl Gilberg in her home in the Village of Mazomanie Sunday evening. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy by the Dane County medical examiner determined Gilberg was shot to death.

The sheriff's office says detectives have been interviewing the victim's friends, family and neighbors, but no arrests have been made.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 25, 2014 --- 3:06 p.m.

Dane Co. Sheriff officials have identified the victim of a homicide in Mazomanie as 43-year-old Cheryl Gilberg.

The Medical Examiner reports that the cause of death is homicidal firearm violence.

The Sheriff says no one is charged in the case at this time. He says the crime does not appear to be a random act.

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 25, 2014 --- 1:17 p.m.

Dane Co. Sheriff officials are now calling the death of a woman in Mazomanie a homicide.

Authorities have scheduled a press conference on the investigation for 3:00 p.m. Tuesday. We'll bring you the latest here on nbc15.com and on NBC15 News at 4, 5 and 6.

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UPDATED Monday, February 24, 2014 --- 9:30 p.m.

NBC 15 is learning more Monday about a man who lived in the Mazomanie home at the center of a death investigation.

NBC 15 isn't naming him at this time, but court records show he was found guilty of a hit-and-run of property charge in January. The address listed was 306 Scott St. in Mazomanie.

Then last week, he was issued a domestic abuse temporary restraining order. His address had changed to a Madison one. Because of confidentiality, NBC 15 doesn't know who sought the restraining order.

Multiple neighbors say they saw a deputy's car outside the Mazomanie home a week or two ago but didn't know why it was there.
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UPDATED Monday, February 24, 2014 --- 5:00 p.m.

MAZOMANIE, Wis. (AP) -- Dane County sheriff's officials say the death of a woman in Mazomanie is suspicious.

Deputies responded to a report of an injured female at a village residence Sunday night. Authorities say a middle-aged woman was pronounced dead at the scene by the Dane County Medical Examiner's Office.

Detectives are talking to friends, relatives and acquaintances of the woman. The sheriff's office says an autopsy was being conducted Monday and authorities plan to hold a news conference Tuesday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 --- 9:23 a.m.

Dane Co. deputies are investigating a suspicious death in the Village of Mazomanie.

Deputies responded to a report of an injured woman at 306 Scott Street Sunday night around 7:10. The middle-aged woman was pronounced dead at the scene by the medical examiner's office.

Right now, deputies are following up with friends, relatives and acquaintances to gather more information.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Dane County tip line at 608-284-6900.


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