If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A Dunn County judge has found probable cause and has bound former Colfax resident Richard Seehaver over for trial in connection with the death of John M. Likeness last December in Menomonie.
Sergeant Kelly Pollock, a detective with the Menomonie Police Department, testified during a preliminary hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court before Judge Rod Smeltzer June 20 that a 911 call had been received on December 30 in connection with a house on 15th Street Southeast in Menomonie.
Seehaver, age 52, is charged with first degree intentional homicide in the death of the 54-year-old Likeness.
Seehaver and Likeness are both graduates of Colfax High School. Likeness graduated from Colfax High School in 1982.
When the first officer arrived at the house, through the window, he saw a man in a chair — later identified as Likeness — and Seehaver with his arms around Likeness, Sergeant Pollock testified.
The officers who first arrived on the scene convinced Seehaver to open the door, and when he did, the officers saw his clothing and face were covered in blood, she said.
The officers entered the residence to see if anyone else was in the house, but the only person there was Likeness, who was deceased, Sergeant Pollock said.
Likeness was sitting in a recliner, covered in blood, with a crossbow bolt in his chest and three gashes in his throat. By the time officers arrived at the residence, Likeness was still warm to the touch but he did not have any pulse, she said.
A forensic autopsy was conducted in Ramsey County, and the result of the autopsy was that homicide was the cause of death for Likeness and was due to the crossbow bolt on the left side of his chest and three gashes in his throat, Sergeant Pollock testified.
According to the criminal complaint, Seehaver told investigators he had lived in the house with Likeness for a few months and had lived with Likeness in Cedar Falls before that.
Investigators interviewed Seehaver, and when asked what Seehaver had said about Likeness, Sergeant Pollock said Seehaver had told investigators he had “put Likeness out of his misery” and had shot him with a crossbow.
When Likeness did not die right away, Seehaver retrieved a butcher knife from the kitchen and slit Likeness’s throat, Sergeant Pollock testified.
When investigators asked Seehaver, “Where is John Likeness?” Seehaver had replied, “He’s dead,” Sergeant Pollock said.
Seehaver also told investigators he knew killing someone was murder but that he felt justified for putting Likeness out of his misery and that he hoped he would get a medal for killing Likeness, she said.
Shelly Tomtschik, Seehaver’s attorney, asked how officers had identified Likeness.
Likeness’s wallet was sitting on a table near him, Sergeant Pollock said.
Was Likeness’s body claimed by his family? asked Tomtschik.
At some point, yes, Likeness’s family claimed the body, Sergeant Pollock replied.
Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf objected to the line of questioning on the basis of relevance.
Judge Smeltzer sustained Nodolf’s objection.
Tomtschik indicated she had no further questions and no other witnesses to call for testimony.
Judge Smeltzer found probable cause and bound Seehaver over for trial.
An arraignment hearing is scheduled for July 16 at 3:15 p.m. in Dunn County Circuit Court.
During a court hearing February 28, after the court received a competency evaluation completed by Dr. Donna Minter, a clinical psychologist, Judge Smeltzer ordered Seehaver remanded to the Mendota Health Institute for medication and treatment.
Dr. Minter indicated Seehaver’s competency would be restored with medication and treatment, Judge Smeltzer said, and after Seehaver was determined to be competent, he would return to the court for further proceedings.
During the February hearing, Judge Smeltzer also found Seehaver was incompetent to refuse medication or treatment.
When asked if he agreed with the judge’s order to send him to Mendota for treatment and that he was not competent to refuse treatment, Seehaver answered, “yes.”
Judge Smeltzer agreed to set a status hearing in six months and scheduled the hearing for September 9.
During a hearing May 24, another competency evaluation had been submitted to the court, and Donna Burger, also Seehaver’s attorney, objected to the report because there was an error, according to on-line court records.
The doctor who submitted the report was called by telephone, sworn in, and said the corrected report could probably be resubmitted that afternoon.
Neither Burger nor District Attorney Nodolf objected to the corrected report being submitted into the record.
Burger asked for the $500,000 cash bail to be amended, but Nodolf objected, and Judge Smeltzer denied a modification of the bail.
A $200,000 cash bail had been set January 2, but Judge Smeltzer increased the cash bail to $500,000 on January 14.
During the May 24 hearing, Judge Smeltzer scheduled the preliminary hearing for June 20.
Seehaver was still in custody at the time of the June 20 hearing.