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Second suspect, in the 2001 murder of La Crosse teen, will be released early from prison



Judge Gloria Doyle grants early release to Timothy Goyette in La Crosse on June 4, 2024 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

He’s now 38 years old and will will be released from prison soon, after serving more than 20 years for the fatal beating of another teenager along La Crosse’s riverfront.

When Timothy Goyette was 15, he was the youngest of four teens charged in the 2001 beating death of 16-year-old Jeff Smulick, which reportedly was part of an alleged gang initiation for another suspect.

Smulick was attacked in a lot on Front Street on Riverfest weekend, being hit in the head with a rock and dumped into the river. His body was found in the water a short time later.

Goyette was convicted of reckless homicide and aggravated battery at a plea hearing in 2002, and was ordered to serve 25 years in prison, followed by 10 years supervision.

He has served more than 80 percent of that sentence.

In court on Tuesday, Jeff Smulick’s mother said she forgives Goyette and hopes he can start over.

La Crosse County Judge Gloria Doyle approved Goyette’s early release from prison, saying he has shown sincere regret for the murder. Goyette appeared in court by video. He is housed at a correctional center in Gordon, Wis.

Two of the other defendants, Colin Littlejohn and Gary Gregory, remain in prison. Littlejohn, who was 17 at the time, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder with a release possibility in 2041.

The fourth suspect, Jonathan Coryell, was granted his release in 2021.

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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