Fort Atkinson woman accused of killing grandmother sentenced

Elizabeth Durkee
Elizabeth Durkee(Wisconsin Dept. of Justice)
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 9:46 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A woman accused of killing her grandmother and then setting her Fort Atkinson home on fire days later pleaded guilty Thursday and was sentenced to life in prison with possibility of early release, according to court records.

Elizabeth Durkee, 37, pleaded guilty to first degree intentional homicide and arson of a building without the owner’s consent. The charges of strangulation and suffocation and mutilating a corpse were dismissed.

Durkee was sentenced to life in prison for the homicide charge, but court records show she may request extended supervision after serving 22 years. Given the time she has already served, she can request early release in June of 2043.

She was also sentenced to 20 years for the arson charge, served concurrently with the homicide charge. The arson charge is followed by 15 years of extended supervision.

Durkee was arrested in June of 2021 and previously pleaded not guilty in September of 2021. According to a criminal complaint, Fort Atkinson Fire Department officers were called to the 400 block of Foster Street for a house fire.

A neighbor told officers that a woman had left the home before the fire with a child, but said they did not know if the older person who also lived in the house was still inside. When the fire department was able to put out the fire enough to see through the bedroom window, firefighters stated they could see the victim’s body.

The officer was able to make contact with the victim’s daughter, who is Durkee’s mother, who said they were not able to get ahold of Durkee. An Amber Alert was issued later that night for Durkee’s two-year-old daughter, which was canceled a little less than two hours later when officials located the child, who was found safe.

According to the complaint, Durkee told police that her and her grandmother, the victim, had discussed Durkee helping her grandmother end her life. Officers said she later stared the fire on Friday morning and then left.

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