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Wilson gets 3-year prison term for backyard shooting



A La Crosse man praised by his relatives as a “wonderful” husband and father will spend roughly 2 years in prison for shooting another man in May of last year. 

Ellis Wilson was scheduled to be tried next month for attempted murder in the wounding of Justin Tillman, but Wilson pled guilty on Wednesday to a lesser charge of reckless injury. 

“I’m just ready to move forward, and get back home to my kids, so I can raise them, do better things, make better choices,” said Wilson during the plea hearing and sentencing.

Tillman was left paralyzed by the shooting in Wilson’s back yard on 5th Avenue, and claimed that Wilson shot him for saying insulting things during a rap contest. 

Judge Todd Bjerke said that Wilson apparently carried a gun because he felt threatened by other men who are larger than him, calling that Wilson’s “first mistake, thinking you need to protect yourself like that…because of the people you associate with.”

“That should tell you right there you need to change your friends and acquaintances,” Bjerke said.

Wilson’s mother-in-law said that he “was full of dope” before the shooting, and should be given another chance.  The 3-year prison sentence for Wilson includes credit for a year spent in the county jail since Tillman was shot.   It will be followed by 7 years of supervision.

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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