By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A preliminary hearing has been set in Dunn County Circuit Court on arson and attempted murder charges for a woman who armed herself with a machete when the Colfax police chief served an arrest warrant.
Beth Mittelstadt, 44, made an initial appearance with her attorney, Dan Chapman, before Judge Rod Smeltzer on January 6.
Mittelstadt invoked her right to a speedy preliminary hearing within ten days.
During a preliminary hearing, after listening to testimony from witnesses, a judge determines whether there is probable cause to bind the defendant over for trial and to set an arraignment hearing.
Mittelstadt faces four felonies and three misdemeanors: one count of attempted first degree intentional homicide; two counts of recklessly endangering safety; one count of arson; one count of resisting an officer; one count of criminal damage to property; and one count of disorderly conduct.
When Colfax Police Chief Bill Anderson served the arrest warrant for arson on the afternoon of December 18, Mittelstadt threatened him with a machete.
The police chief fired one shot, striking Mittelstadt in the upper torso.
Mittelstadt is accused of setting a house on fire located at 511 East Third Avenue in Colfax the evening of May 24.
The house was occupied by Katy Bundy and her children, although no one was home at the time of the fire.
Judge Smeltzer set a cash bail of $10,000 on the arson charge December 29.
Attempted murder is a Class B felony that carries a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.
First degree recklessly endangering safety is a Class F felony that carries a penalty of up to a $25,000 fine and/or 12 years and six months in prison.
Resisting an officer and criminal damage to property are Class A misdemeanors and carry a penalty of a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to nine months in prison.
Disorderly conduct is a Class B misdemeanor that carries a penalty of a $1,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in prison.
According to the criminal complaint, the fire at 511 East Third Avenue was reported at 10:04 p.m. May 24.
The next day, an investigator from the state Department of Justice Department determined that the fire had been deliberately set.
Four days later, on May 29, the DOJ investigator and Matt Feeney of the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department questioned Mittelstadt about the fire.
Mittelstadt told investigators she was at Bundy’s residence with Mark Ramquist and was there to purchase methamphetamine.
Mittelstadt said she gave Bundy $40 or $50 and that Bundy went to another location to get the meth.
After Bundy had been gone for a while, Mittelstadt told investigators she called her numerous times to find out where she was and that she was very upset about Bundy’s continued absence — so upset that she started breaking things in Bundy’s house.
Eventually, Mittelstadt walked to Michele Kuesel’s residence at 702 Pine Street in Colfax, several blocks north of Bundy’s house.
The DOJ investigator asked Mittelstadt if she was involved with the fire at Bundy’s residence, and Mittelstadt said she was not involved.
Investigators talked to Kuesel in August, and Kuesel said Mittelstadt appeared to be intoxicated when she arrived the night of the fire and was visibly upset.
Mittelstadt eventually went to sleep downstairs in Kuesel’s basement.
After Mittelstadt had gone to sleep, Kuesel said she had received a telephone call from Bundy, who asked that she keep Mittelstadt at Kuesel’s Pine Street residence.
Bundy told Kuesel about the fire and said that Mittelstadt had set the fire, according to the criminal complaint.
Kuesel told investigators that Mittelstadt had told her she went to Bundy’s house to purchase methamphetamine and that she broke items in the house when Bundy did not return with the meth.
Kuesel said two weeks later, Mittelstadt told her that Mittelstadt and Ramquist were only in the living room and bathroom at Bundy’s house.
Investigators had determined that the fire at Bundy’s house started in the bedroom.
In August, investigators also talked to Grant Gamble, who said he was at the Burger King near Exit 59 in Eau Claire when Bundy and Justin Link arrived on the night that Bundy’s house was set on fire.
While Gamble was talking to them, Bundy received a telephone call from Mittelstadt.
Bundy put the call on speaker phone, and Gamble said he could hear the conversation between Bundy and Mittelstadt “clear as day.”
Gamble told investigators he heard Mittelstadt call Bundy several names that cannot be printed in the Colfax Messenger, that Bundy had been given $40 to purchase methamphetamine for Mittelstadt, and that Mittelstadt continued to call Bundy that evening.
Gamble said he overheard Mittelstadt say to Bundy, “I’m burning your house down.”
Although state law requires an outside agency do the investigation when there is a death in an officer-involved shooting, Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith asked St. Croix County to investigate the shooting in Colfax.
According to the criminal complaint, St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department investigators learned that while attempting to serve the warrant for arson at Mittelstadt’s residence in an apartment on Main Street in Colfax, Police Chief Anderson was confronted by Mittelstadt wielding a machete.
In spite of Police Chief Anderson’s instructions to lay down the machete, Mittelstadt advanced toward him, and Police Chief Anderson shot her one time to stop the defendant.
When Dunn County deputies arrived to help Police Chief Anderson take the defendant into custody, Mittelstadt threw the machete at one of the deputies.
After Police Chief Anderson received a warrant for Mittelstadt’s arrest the morning of December 18, he went to her apartment that afternoon to locate her, according to the complaint.
Dennis Mittelstadt, who reportedly is Beth Mittelstadt’s brother, yelled to the defendant that someone was there to see her. When Mittelstadt asked who it was and was told it was “the cops,” Mittelstadt told Dennis to say she was not there.
Police Chief Anderson spoke up and said he could hear her.
Mittelstadt said she was not going to talk to him because the last time she spoke to the police, she had gotten arrested.
Police Chief Anderson said he had a warrant for her arrest, and Mittelstadt became more agitated and was yelling at the police chief as she went into her room.
Police Chief Anderson asked Dennis if Beth had any weapons, and Dennis said she may have knife but did not have any guns.
Dennis tried to talk the defendant down, but Mittelstadt continued to yell that she was not “f-ing going anywhere.”
Police Chief Anderson heard banging on the walls, went to the defendant’s bedroom, opened the door a few inches and saw Mittelstadt beating a machete against the walls.
Mittelstadt noticed Police Chief Anderson and took a swipe at him with the machete through the crack in the door.
Police Chief Anderson said he was fearful for his safety and moved his head back to avoid being hit with the machete.
According to the criminal complaint, a later inspection revealed that when Mittelstadt swiped at the police chief, she broke the knob off the door.
Police Chief Anderson backed away from the bedroom door and positioned himself by the front door while Mittelstadt continued to hit the walls with the machete, according to the complaint.
Once he saw the machete, Police Chief Anderson removed his handgun.
Mittelstadt emerged from her bedroom and approached the police chief and began to raise the machete in a threatening manner as though she was going to swing at him.
Police Chief Anderson instructed Mittelstadt to drop the machete. Mittelstadt stopped for a second but then came at the police chief again with the machete raised.
Police Chief Anderson fired one round at the defendant, who turned and dropped to the floor, still holding onto the machete.
The police chief then called “shots fired” over the radio and continued to instruct Mittelstadt to drop the machete.
Sergeant Todd Kurtzhals of the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department arrived a short while later and worked his way toward Mittelstadt.
According to the complaint, Mittelstadt looked at him and threw the machete at him.
Sergeant Kurtzhals then fired his Taser, and Mittelstadt was taken into custody.
Sergeant Kurtzhals told St. Croix County investigators he was on duty in Boyceville when he heard Police Chief Anderson check out 601 ½ Main Street in Colfax on a warrant service.
A short while later, Sergeant Kurtzhals said he heard Police Chief Anderson say that Mittelstadt had a knife and was stabbing the walls.
Sergeant Kurtzhals arrived a short while later and saw Police Chief Anderson and Deputy Scott Pace at the threshold of the apartment pointing their handguns at Mittelstadt.
Sergeant Kurtzhals could see Mittelstadt lying on the floor in the kitchen/dining area with a large machete in her left hand.
Sergeant Kurtzhals looped to the left to attempt to remove the machete from Mittelstadt and take her into custody.
As Sergeant Kurtzhals approached, when he was approximately five feet away, Mittelstadt looked at him and threw the machete, missing Sergeant Kurtzhals’ head and face by inches.
Sergeant Kurtzhals told St. Croix County investigators that he thought Mittelstadt was going to kill him when she threw the machete.
Sergeant Kurtzhals used his Taser three times before Mittelstadt complied with his orders, according to the complaint.
The criminal damage to property and the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges against Mittelstadt stem from an incident in Wheeler on December 14 when Mittelstadt allegedly became angry and tried to kick in the door of Angela Draxler’s residence.
When a Dunn County deputy arrived, he noticed a muddy footprint on the door, and Draxler showed him where the door jamb had cracked near the door knob.
Draxler said Mittelstadt had been banging on the door, and because Draxler is afraid of Mittelstadt, she said she was not going to answer the door.
Draxler peeked out from a curtain, and Mittelstadt yelled at her to open the door.
When Draxler did not open the door, Mittelstadt kicked it and cracked the door jamb.
The deputy went to Colfax to talk to Mittelstadt, who said she had gone to Draxler’s residence to collect $150 she had loaned to Draxler. When Draxler would not open the door, Mittelstadt kicked it.
When the deputy said he had seen the footprint, Mittelstadt said, “Yeah, and it’ll match my boot.”
The deputy then informed Mittelstadt she had damaged the door and was under arrest for criminal damage and disorderly conduct.
The preliminary hearing in the Mittelstadt case in Dunn County Circuit Court scheduled for January 15 begins at 1:30 p.m. and is scheduled to last for an hour and a half.