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La Crosse man receives 4.5 year prison term for fatal Houska Park stabbing



A La Crosse man is sentenced to prison for reckless homicide, in the stabbing death of another man at Houska Park two years ago. 

David Pearson Junior is ordered to serve 4-and-a-half years for killing Cameron Baker during an argument in June of 2021.  Pearson will get credit for the nearly two years he has been in the county jail.  Other charges brought against Pearson have been dismissed, as part of a plea agreement to avoid a trial.


During sentencing on Wednesday, Judge Ramona Gonzalez said Pearson could have received five years in prison, but she reduced the amount because there was evidence of self-defense in the stabbing. Pearson was in the habit of carrying a knife with him.

Gonzalez said the 36-year-old Pearson was not a good candidate for probation because of a long record of offenses, dating back to before he moved from Illinois to La Crosse in 2018. Before being sentenced, Pearson said in court that he’s willing to change, and is not the “menace” or “misfit” that others believe he is.

Pearson also offered his condolences to Baker’s family. Earlier in the hearing, a sister of the victim called Pearson “worthless” and said that she hopes he rots in prison.

The judge said that both Pearson and Baker had experienced different kinds of trauma before encountering each other at Houska Park, when it was being used as a summer camping area for the homeless.

Pearson was captured after leaving the scene of the fight.  Officers called to the park and found Baker, who died a short time later from a single stab wound.

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. Kent Porter

    April 20, 2023 at 6:18 am

    About time judge Gozalas starts looking up people with long criminal records

  2. Collin

    April 20, 2023 at 2:33 pm

    Well……he’s not homeless anymore

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