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$1 million bond set for Dakota man accused of killing his wife

Brad Williams

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A bond of $1 million has been set by a Winona County judge for a Dakota man accused of killing his wife. 

Seventy-nine-year-old Joseph Wright is charged with second-degree murder for stabbing his wife Clara and beating her with a mallet at their home last Friday. 

Wright reportedly also left a suicide note, and was treated at a La Crosse hospital for injuries to his wrist. 

The Winona county attorney’s office asked for $4 million bail, but the public defender for Wright called that amount ‘shocking,’ and said it might as well be $4 trillion. 

Judge Mary Leahy set the bond Thursday morning, and scheduled a review of the bond conditions at another hearing on July 23rd.

Wright was arrested after calling 9-1-1 and claiming he killed Clara, who reportedly had dementia. 

Investigators say Joseph beat his wife in the head with a meat tenderizer and stabbed her in the heart and liver. 

The county attorney worries that Wright could flee to Florida, where he has a girlfriend.

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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