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Complaint: Man in Madison kidnapping killed in Columbia Co. after clash over money

From Left: Jakenya Patty, Laura Johnson, Jesse Freiberg
From Left: Jakenya Patty, Laura Johnson, Jesse Freiberg(Columbia County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 5:06 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The man kidnapped in Madison and killed in Columbia County was being held by one of the suspects who was armed with a box cutter and demanded to know “about where her money was” before his death, a criminal complaint released Tuesday reveals.

The complaint details first how police learned of the potential homicide and then that the victim was also kidnapped before.

A Columbia County Sheriff’s Office sergeant was told by the Madison Police Department on June 15 that Ja’Kenya Patty, 21, told them about a potential homicide that happened in Portage, the complaint states.

The vehicle Patty was in when she was met by MPD belonged to the victim, she also allegedly told the officers. She had tried to run over her boyfriend Jesse Freiberg, 28, with the car, the complaint alleges.

Patty allegedly said that a man, whom she did not know, had been beaten in Madison and then driven to Portage. Freiberg allegedly shot the man two to three times, the complaint cites Patty saying, before he fell into water. Patty said the shooting had happened in the last two to three days.

The complaint continues, revealing that another MPD officer talked with Patty and was told that a gun was in the vehicle that Freiberg had allegedly killed someone with the night before. The officer found a Smith & Wesson handgun inside a backpack within the car, the complaint notes.

An MPD detective sergeant further determined by talking with Patty that she and Freiberg had gone over to the residence of someone named “Na Na,” who was later identified as the third suspect, Laura Johnson.

According to the complaint, the victim was inside Johnson’s home and Patty saw Johnson allegedly strike the victim several times with a metal object, which caused him to bleed.

Johnson then pulled the victim into the hallway, into an elevator and into the victim’s vehicle, Patty recounted.

Patty and Freiberg went with Johnson in the vehicle. The complaint states that Freiberg drove and she was in the front passenger seat. Johnson and the victim, whose hands were bound in front of him with a blue phone cord, sat in the back of the vehicle.

Johnson was allegedly beating the victim in the car and demanded money from him, the complaint states.

The complaint reports that Freiberg drove outside of Portage and parked the vehicle near water. The victim got out and tried to run toward the water, but the complaint states that Freiberg took out a gun and fired it at him. The victim fell into the water and Freiberg fired the gun two more times, Patty alleged.

Patty told authorities that Freiberg went back into the vehicle and they drove back to Madison, then dropped Johnson off.

Patty tried to describe where the victim’s body was, but said she was unclear on their exact route of travel. Patty rode with the detective sergeant around the Portage area to look for the victim. Authorities searched for four hours in the Portage area before eventually locating the victim’s body in the Township of Lewiston, the complaint notes.

Officers recovered an unfired bullet and spent shell casing from a 9 mm handgun at the scene, the complaint states.

In an interview with Freiberg on June 15 at the Dane County Jail, he recalled that when he and Patty arrived at Johnson’s residence, Johnson was yelling at the victim “about where her money was.” Johnson said she was holding the victim “hostage” and had a box cutter, the complaint alleges.

Freiberg asked Patty once outside the residence “are we going to do this?” to which the complaint alleges Patty replying “yeah, we want the car.”

Freiberg corroborated Patty’s recount of the shooting and allegedly admitted to shooting the gun three times- once to make sure it was working and twice at the victim. He also claimed that when the victim was running away from them, both Johnson and Patty told him to shoot.

The complaint states that Freiberg said after the shooting, Johnson allegedly told them they could take the car and do whatever they wanted with it.

An autopsy report for the victim states that he had a perforating gunshot wound to his left thigh that eventually exited through his abdomen.

All three suspects are accused of first-degree intentional homicide as party to a crime. The Sheriff’s Office indicated during a news conference last week that the killing was a targeted act and not a random act of violence.

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