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Holmen man who attacked cop could be released from state hospital

Brad Williams

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A Holmen man, who was sent to a state hospital for attacking a police officer, could be released soon.

Joseph Smith could be granted a conditional release from the Mendota hospital within the next 60 days.

Smith was committed to 46 years, after being found not guilty by reason of mental disease, for stabbing La Crosse Officer Jon Wenger with a screwdriver during a 2006 traffic stop.

Wenger was wearing a protective vest, which limited his injuries.

Smith was shot by another officer after Wenger was wounded.

After being found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of mental illness, Smith was sent to Mendota.

He has been hospitalized for the last nine years, following a brief release.

The 36-year-old Smith is likely to be sent to a group home, if he’s released from the hospital.

La Crosse district attorney Tim Gruenke agreed with a new evaluation, suggesting Smith may be ready to stay at a group home.

Judge Gloria Doyle approved a defense motion Monday for Smith’s conditional release, and a specific plan could be approved before the end of July.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

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    Lb

    May 20, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    He should be released. They did him wrong and lied from the start. Where are the 5 video tapes from that day??? Why did the bullets go through his legs and one almost to his heart? Why because he was on the ground. He was already taken down. He has been held up for a cover up of extreme force for far too long. He deserves to be left alone. They also lied about the weapon or left the mind to imagine it was a straight long screwdriver it was Not and there is no way it went into a bullet proof vest

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