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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A probation agent with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections has asked a Dunn County judge for Richard Seehaver’s mental health assessments so they can be used in writing the pre-sentence investigation (PSI).
Jackie Goodell with the Department of Corrections appeared by telephone at a court hearing before Judge Rod W. Smeltzer May 14. Seehaver’s attorney, Donna Burger, also appeared by telephone.
Seehaver appeared by videoconferencing from the Dunn County Jail, and Andrea Nodolf, Dunn County District Attorney, was in the courtroom in person.
The Department of Corrections is requesting the release of mental health assessments for Seehaver in order to write the PSI, Judge Smeltzer said.
Seehaver, age 53, is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court June 18.
As part of a plea deal, Seehaver entered a plea of “no contest” April 23 and was found guilty of one felony count of second degree intentional homicide with modifiers of use of a dangerous weapon, as a repeat offender, and domestic abuse with the infliction of physical pain or injury in connection with the death of 54-year-old John M. Likeness at their home in Menomonie in December of 2018.
One of Likeness’s family members also listened in on the May 14 court hearing by telephone.
Seehaver initially was charged with first-degree intentional homicide.
Nodolf said she had no objections to Goodell’s request for mental health assessments and said the information would be necessary and appropriate for writing the PSI.
Burger wanted to know which specific records Goodell planned to request.
Goodell said she was working from home and did not have all of the information with her but that she was requesting mental health assessments from Seehaver’s time at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in 2019, the competency evaluation completed before Seehaver was sent to Mendota and other mental health assessments from recent years.
Burger said she had no objection to the competency evaluation records but that she would object to other mental health records without any specifics as to which records.
Current mental health assessments related to recent events would be helpful in writing the PSI, Judge Smeltzer noted.
Goodell could put her request in writing for records, give the request to Burger, and Burger could obtain the records and then state her objections to any of the records prior to turning them over, Judge Smeltzer said.
The judge also suggested Goodell file the request for records with the court and with Nodolf.
Be specific in the request, and Burger can review the request with Seehaver, and if there are objections, “so be it,” Judge Smeltzer said.
“I think it can be worked out,” he said.
Nodolf asked if she had permission to turn over Dr. Donna Minter’s competency evaluation and follow-up assessment, to which Judge Smeltzer replied in the affirmative.
The victims, Likeness’s family members, would like to attend the sentencing hearing in person. Before they spend the money for airfare, is the sentencing hearing on track for June 18? Nodolf asked.
Is it possible for the PSI to be submitted to the court by June 8? Judge Smeltzer asked.
Goodell assured the court she could have the PSI finished and submitted to the court by June 8.
Judge Smeltzer asked if Burger was planning to order an alternative PSI.
Burger said she typically does not make that decision until she sees the state’s PSI, but that at the time of the May 14 court hearing, she was not anticipating asking for an alternative PSI.
Judge Smeltzer asked Burger to notify him by June 9 if she planned to order an alternative PSI.
Seehaver’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. June 18.
Seehaver and Likeness were both early 1980s graduates of Colfax High School, and according to the criminal complaint, Seehaver told investigators he had lived in the house in Menomonie with Likeness for a few months and had lived with Likeness in Cedar Falls before that.
When law enforcement officers arrived at their home in Menomonie on December 30, 2018, Likeness, who appeared to be deceased, was seated in the chair with an arrow sticking out of his chest, a large wound in his jaw and neck area, and blood all over his body. A knife was found on a blanket on the floor next to the chair where Likeness was seated, according to the complaint.