UPDATE: Rock Co. man won't be tried in neighbor's shooting

UPDATED Friday, October 11, 2013 --- 9:48 a.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- Injuries from self-inflicted shotgun blasts and his age have made a Wisconsin man unfit for trial in his neighbor's shooting death.

That's the decision of a judge who ordered 75-year-old Daniel Bellard sent to Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison for treatment.

Bellard, of Plymouth, had been charged in the February death of Christine Gestrich. A criminal complaint says Bellard told investigators he thought Gestrich was going to take his land. He shot her before shooting himself twice.

District Attorney David O'Leary told the Janesville Gazette on Thursday that the onset of dementia meant Bellard would likely never be competent to stand trial.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, February 11, 2013 --- 2:31 p.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- Rock County sheriff's authorities have arrested a 75-year-old man in the shooting death last week of a woman who was his neighbor.

The sheriff's office says the man was arrested Monday on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide. He remains under guard in stable condition at UW Hospital in Madison.

Officers were called to a rural property Wednesday morning and found 59-year-old Christine Gestrich dead in a barn and the suspect with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in another outbuilding on the property.

The sheriff's office says the man is the only suspect in the shooting.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Monday, February 11, 2013 --- 1:45 p.m.

Press Release from the Rock Co. Sheriff's Office:

Rock County Sheriff’s Detectives have continued to investigate the February 6, 2013, Plymouth Township, West Stuart Road, shooting death of Christine M. Gestrich. As a result of this thorough investigation, based upon physical evidence gathered at the scene; witness statements; and investigative interviews; the Rock County Sheriff’s Office today has arrested Daniel F. Bellard, age 75, of West Stuart Road, on a charge of First Degree Intentional Homicide, WI §940.01, in the death of Christine M. Gestrich, age 59. Mr. Bellard is the only suspect in this incident.

Mr. Bellard remains under guard in stable condition at the UW Hospital in Madison.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Gestrich family as they grieve this tragic event.

Further questions relating to this incident should be directed to the Rock County District Attorney’s Office.

Pursuant to the directive of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicity, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

ROBERT D. SPODEN
SHERIFF

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UPDATED Thursday, February 7, 2013 --- 12:06 p.m.

TOWN OF PLYMOUTH, Wis. (AP) -- Rock County sheriff's officials say a woman found dead in a barn in the Town of Plymouth had apparently been shot by a neighbor, who also shot himself.

The male neighbor is hospitalized in critical condition in Madison and is being guarded by sheriff's deputies.

SWAT officers were among law enforcement personnel who responded to the rural property about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. They found 59-year-old Christine Gestrich dead in a barn and the suspect with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in another outbuilding on the property. He was treated on the scene by a SWAT doctor and was taken by helicopter to UW Hospital.

Sheriff Robert Spoden says it's not yet clear what motivated the shooting. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Thursday, February 7, 2013 --- 9:45 a.m.

From the Rock County Sheriff's Office:

Yesterday morning at 8:18 a.m., Deputies from the Rock County Sheriff’s Office, along with a Turtle Township Police unit, responded to an address in the 6700 block of West Stuart Road in Plymouth Township for a report of a shooting incident. Preliminary information coming into the Rock County 911 Communication Center indicated that a male subject had shot a female in an outbuilding on the property. It was indicated that the male subject and the female victim were neighbors.

At 8:27 a.m., arriving Deputies encountered thick fog and limited visibility. However, they quickly ascertained from the reporting person that a shooting had occurred. Deputies heard one gunshot shortly after their arrival. A perimeter was immediately set up to contain the situation while the Rock County Sheriff’s SWAT and Hostage Negotiation teams responded. It was quickly established that it would be beneficial for scene access to have the Rock County Sheriff’s Office Recreational Safety Team’s snowmobiles and an ATV respond to this snow-covered rural area to allow Sheriff’s SWAT personnel to get closer to the outbuildings.

First responding Deputies attempted a rescue and the deceased female victim was located in a barn. Shortly after that, SWAT members arrived on scene, along with the SWAT medical doctor, and the male suspect was located in another outbuilding with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a shotgun was located near the suspect’s body. The male suspect was treated at the scene by our SWAT doctor and medflighted to UW Hospital in Madison, where he is in critical condition and remains under guard by Sheriff’s Deputies.

Rock County Sheriff’s personnel deployed our Incident Command Trailer to set up a command post at the scene. Detectives and Special Investigation Unit investigators worked with our Bureau of Identification Deputies to process the scene throughout the day and into the evening. The Rock County Coroner’s Office personnel responded to the scene to assist in the investigation.

As with any death investigation, there is much evidence and many facts to gather. The investigation is ongoing and at this time it is unclear as to what specifically occurred prior to this shooting. There is an autopsy on the victim scheduled for later today. More details will be released as they become available.

The victim was identified as:

Christine M. Gestrich, age 59
of West Stuart Road
Plymouth Township

The alleged suspect was identified as:

Daniel F. Bellard, age 75
of West Stuart Road
Plymouth Township

As with any incident of this magnitude, the tragedy affects many. Our thoughts remain with all those impacted. I want to assure the public that there is no threat to public safety as this is an isolated incident.

Also, we would like to acknowledge that during this incident, assistance was provided by the by the Southwest Emergency Preparedness Team (SWEPT), along with the Beloit Fire Department’s “Rehab 29” unit to ensure that personnel working out at the scene in the cold weather conditions were given warm drinks and food.

ROBERT D. SPODEN
SHERIFF
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UPDATED Wednesday, February 6, 2013 --- 4:17 p.m.

TOWN OF PLYMOUTH, Wis. (AP) -- Rock County sheriff officials say a man suspected of fatally shooting a woman is hospitalized in critical condition.

The sheriff's office says the man is in custody at UW Hospital. Authorities believe he's the only suspect involved and that there's no danger to the public.

Deputies and SWAT officers responded to a shooting in the Town of Plymouth Wednesday morning. The Beloit Daily News reports Sheriff Robert Spoden says the victim appears to be an acquaintance of the suspect. No names have been released.

Spoden plans to release more information at a Thursday news conference.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, February 6, 2013 --- 3:06 p.m.

Press Release from the Rock Co. Sheriff's Department:

The Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation of the shooting incident on Stuart Road. At this time, the lone suspect is in custody at UW Hospital listed in critical condition. We believe he is the only suspect involved and that the scene is secure. There is no reason for residents to be fearful for their safety.

On February 7, 2013, at 9 a.m., Sheriff Spoden will be holding a press conference at the Rock County Sheriff’s Office to release more information regarding the shooting.

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UPDATED Wednesday, February 6, 2013 --- 12:25 p.m.

TOWN OF PLYMOUTH, Wis. (AP) -- Rock County sheriff officials say a man is in custody after an apparent altercation left a woman dead.

Deputies and SWAT officers responded to a shooting in the Town of Plymouth Wednesday morning. The Beloit Daily News reports Sheriff Robert Spoden says the victim appears to be an acquaintance of the suspect. No names have been released.

Spoden said the investigation is still in the early stages and more information would be released later.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, February 6, 2013 --- 11:41 a.m.

Here's the latest information from our crew at the scene:

A woman is confirmed dead from gunshot wounds. She is believed to be in her late-50s.

The SWAT Team found a man in a shed with what appear to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds. He has been transported by Med Flight to an area hospital.

The man is believed to be the suspect in the case.

The suspect appears to have no record of any prior contact with police. The investigation is ongoing.

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UPDATED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 --- 10:10 a.m.

TOWN OF PLYMOUTH, Wis. (AP) -- Rock County sheriff deputies and SWAT officers have responded to a shooting.

Authorities say deputies have set up a perimeter around the shooting scene in the Town of Plymouth Wednesday morning. The sheriff's department is asking citizens to stay away from the area.

No other details were provided.
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UPDATED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 --- 10:00 a.m.

From the Rock County Sheriff's Office:

Sheriff’s Deputies have responded to a report of a shooting on Stuart Road in Plymouth Township. At this time, Deputies are setting up a parameter and the Rock County SWAT Team is also responding.

This is very fluid and citizens are asked to avoid the Stuart Road area. Information will be released as more facts are known.

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Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 --- 9:25 a.m.

Rock County Dispatch says crews are investigating a possible shooting between Janesville and Orfordville.

The scene is at 6700 block of Stuart Road in the Town of Plymouth.

We have a crew on the way and we'll bring you more as it becomes available.


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