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Judge denies motion to dismiss Ridgeland shootout case

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE — A judge in Dunn County Circuit has denied a motion to dismiss the case against a 33-year-old Dallas man involved in a shootout with law enforcement officers near Ridgeland last June.

Judge Michael Bitney denied the motion January 30 filed by Donna Burger, the attorney for Jared Brendel.

 Brendel is accused of leading Barron County deputies on a high-speed chase June 3, 2014, that ended up in a shoot out with deputies from both Barron and Dunn County near the intersection of 1370th Avenue and 530th Street, a little more than halfway between state Highway 64 and Ridgeland.

All together, Brendel is charged with 12 felonies and one misdemeanor, including three felony counts of first-degree attempted murder, three felony counts of intentionally pointing a firearm at a law enforcement officer, two felony counts of bail jumping, a felon possessing a firearm, one felony count of driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent, one felony count of fleeing officers, one felony count of recklessly endangering safety and one misdemeanor count of the theft of movable property worth less than $2,500.

Bail in the Brendel case was set at $250,000 cash on June 19.

Burger argued in her motion to dismiss that during the preliminary hearing before Judge Bitney in November, the judge only found probable cause for one of the counts but did not find probable cause for the other counts against Brendel.

Burger also argued the criminal complaint did not name the victims of the crimes Brendel is alleged to have committed.

During the January 30 court hearing, Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Maki handed Burger an amended complaint that contained the names of the officers involved in the incident.


Barron County deputies were looking for Brendel in connection with a high-speed chase that had occurred in May of last year. The day prior to the shootout with deputies in June, Brendel was seen outside of a home south of Dallas with a gun. Deputies began looking for Brendel and considered him to be armed and dangerous.

According to a news release from Barron County, on June 3, 2014, the Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a report about a man walking in a field near the area where deputies had searched for Brendel the day before. Deputies from Barron County, troopers from the Wisconsin State Patrol, and K-9 officers from the Rice Lake Police Department responded to the area.

Officers located a vehicle without license plates, and when a Barron County deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver took off, leading officers on a ten-mile chase that ended in Dunn County when deputies used what is called a “pit maneuver” to force Brendel’s vehicle off the road.

According to an analysis of a dash-cam video, as Brendel’s vehicle spun out of control, Brendel fired three shots out of the window, and another deputy started firing back.

Brendel and none of the deputies were struck by the gunshots, although one deputy sustained minor injuries from fragments of glass.

Supreme Court

In reply to Burger’s motion to dismiss, Judge Bitney cited a 1996 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in State vs. Williams about handling multiple counts and establishing probable cause for more than one complaint.

The Supreme Court’s written decision states that judges need only establish probable cause for one count to make a valid bind over for a set of transactionally related accounts, Judge Bitney said.

In addition, the Supreme Court’s decision states that for the purposes of establishing probable cause to bind a defendant over for trial, a multiple count case can be treated the same as a single count case, and it does not require naming the precise felony in each count, he said.

An arrest warrant does not require the level of proof that is required for probable cause, and probable cause does not have to rise to the level required for establishing a finding of beyond a reasonable doubt, Judge Bitney said.

The rules of establishing probable cause involve using facts and reasonable inferences to determine that a felony has probably been committed and that the defendant probably committed the felony, he said.

Judge Bitney said he had reviewed the state statutes for determining probable cause, had reviewed the transcript from the preliminary hearing, and denied the defendant’s request to dismiss the charges.

During the preliminary hearing, Sergeant Marshal Multhauf of the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department testified that Brendel slid off the road, and that Captain Ron Baures and Sergeant Tim Prytz pulled up adjacent to Brendel’s vehicle. Video footage and the reports of officers support the finding of probable cause, Judge Bitney said.

To prove beyond a reasonable doubt is a higher burden than establishing probable cause, and the district attorney’s office must provide enough evidence at trial to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt, he said.

Judge Bitney said of the June 3, 2014, incident that at that time, he believed Brendel was “in a dark place” and was a desperate man who panicked and was setting up a situation of “suicide by cop.”

Judge Bitney asked if Brendel wanted to request a different judge for the case, but Brendel said he did not want to ask for a different judge.

A one-hour plea and sentencing hearing has been scheduled in Dunn County Circuit Court on April 1 at 2:30 p.m.

Brendel remains in custody on the $250,000 cash bail.