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Drugs, sexual assaults make up most felonies for La Crosse County in 2021



La Crosse County has recorded more than a thousand felonies per year, for the last four years.

Will 2021 make it 5 years? Too early to say, but the district attorney’s office already has handled 700 felonies this year, as of last week.

That’s slightly ahead of last year’s pace.

Date La Crosse County hit 700 felonies:

  • 2021: Sept. 13
  • 2020: Sept. 22
  • 2019: Aug. 14
  • 2018: July 24

Drug and sexual assault cases count for many of the serious offenses in the county for 2021, according to La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of felony sexual assaults this year,” Gruenke said. “That number seems to be a little bit higher with serious sexual assaults. Don’t know that I can point to a reason.”

The county District Attorney’s office recorded the county’s 700th felony of the year on Sept. 13 — nine days earlier than in 2020.

Gruenke said Wednesday on La Crosse Talk PM it’s a bit hard to gauge those numbers due to the pandemic.

“I think with COVID, (2020) was kind of a weird year and everything was different, so we kinda have to ignore what was happening last year,” he said.

Gruenke recently joined La Crosse Talk PM to discuss a multitude of topics, including how the vandals who destroyed the Hatched Baby statue might be punished.

Other things discussed, including how the system favors people who can better afford to do the crime — as opposed to doing the time or paying the fine. Gruenke also gave an update on the creation of a Citizens Police Board, as well as where we’re at with some murder cases and how technology has affected the system.

Gruenke thinks the local crime rate is going down, but couldn’t put an exact reason on why. Just that it’s following a national trend.

“It could be we’re doing a better job of locking up dangerous people,” Gruenke said. “It could be that the crime rate is actually going down. It could be the police and our system are doing a better job of keeping people from committing more crimes.

“It’s really hard to know, exactly, the reasons. But, in general, I think it’s safe to say, our crime rate is coming down.”

Gruenke also spoke of some of the higher profile murder cases that have yet to go through the system in La Crosse. The highest of those, for 2021, a triple-homicide at a quarry north of West Salem on County M back in July.

Two men have been charged with those murders. Two other murder cases are set for trial in 2022.

Anquin St. Junious trial for an alleged murder in a taxi back in January of 2019 is set for trial in March.

Matthew Kinstler’s trial in the death of a 79-year-old man during an altercation in the La Crosse Menards parking lot is set for January. That happened back in May of 2020.

Shavante Thompson was accused of shooting someone on the north side back in November of 2019. He was caught in January of 2020. There’s no trial for him yet.

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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