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Two men charged in Butschke murder

Aug. 1, 2011

Two men have admitted to killing 28-year-old Beau Butschke of Ixonia.

James Richards, 19, and James Richardson, 51, both of whom are homeless, were each charged Monday afternoon with homicide, theft and hiding a corpose with intent to conceal a crime.

Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Weston ordered both held on $1 million cash bail because of the risk of the two fleeing.

Both men are thought to have criminal histories.

If convicted, they face life in prison. Richardson told a detective he "knows he's going to prison," District Attorney susan Happ said in court Monday. They have each told officials of their involvement in the killing.

They are both scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. Aug. 15 in Jefferson County.

According to published reports, Richards went to the Janesville Police Department looking for a place to stay.

Detectives knew Jefferson County investigators wanted to talk to the man. A police report says he then confessed to the homicide. He also gave police information that led them to arrest Richardson.

The arrests came a day after family and friends gathered to say their final goodbyes to Butschke with a funeral service at Dr. Martin Luther Church in Oconomowoc, followed by burial at LaBelle Cemetery.

The volunteer search efforts marshaled strong community support.

The family has declined to speak to the media, and many friends are following that lead. Melissa Lin Perry has chosen to speak out, though, on Butschke and the aftermath of his disappearance.

"I wasn't a very close friend of Beau's; however, we did share many mutual friends. I have spent time with Beau on some occasions and do know that he was a very laid-back, genuine man. Fun to be around, lived life to the fullest, but was just your average guy. Beau loved dirt biking, motocross and water sports. He loved to have friends over and have bonfires and just enjoy the life," she said. "When I first heard Beau was missing - it was Tuesday, July 16th, I believe - and it was a mutual friend who had posted it on Facebook. Within hours there was a search of his property set up, and the news spread like wildfire. I instantly knew that I had to help, not only as a friend, a Christian, but as a part of this community. The searches went on and on, no clues, no answers, but we never gave up."

"What started as a close group of friends escalated to an entire community gathering within hours together to find Beau. From friends to absolute strangers, we came together as one with our hearts and never looked back until we found him.

"The Butschke family showed every volunteer compassion, gave us hugs and words of thanks every day, which kept us going. We felt his family's love in the days we were there to search. To see the family so distraught gave us the internal compassion and supplied us with faith to move forward to find answers; the pain in his mother's eyes gave us the drive to push ourselves to the limit doing searches. The devotion of this community is unlike any other, and is astonishing. Beau left us with a deep imprint on our hearts of what life is all about," Perry added.

The Ixonia man, who was last seen and heard from on July 14, was the subject of an intensive search effort aided by a strong community volunteer turnout.

His body was discovered 12 days later inside his red Toyota pickup truck in a locked storage unit facility in Ixonia.

According to a statement from the Jefferson County Sheriff's office, authorities received a call from Ski Slide Storage, N777 Ski Slide Rd., at 6:34 p.m. July 26.

"The report came in as a 'bad smell' coming from a storage unit," the release said.

After making the tragic discovery, law enforcement officials established the crime scene. Detectives as well as members from the Crime Lab Mobile Scene Response Unit from the Department of Justice were dispatched to the area to assist in processing the scene and evidence.

Authorities are calling the case a homicide but have not released the cause of death. An autopsy was completed July 27.

During the time that Butschke was missing, a massive volunteer effort took place with friends, family and community members joining forces to search the 30-plus acres of land that surrounded his rental home.

Fliers blanketed the area, and were taken north and south in an attempt to bring attention to the case.

Using social media methods, notably Facebook, kept people informed of news, mobilized forces for poster distribution or searches and succeeded in gaining publicity for the case.

Once the grim discovery was made, the Facebook page was shut down and replaced by a memorial page.

Indeed, even many of comments on the memorial page are from people who did not know Butschke or the family, but wanted to express their condolences.

In Butschke's obituary, the family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Beau Butschke Fund at First Bank Financial, Oconomowoc.

With approval from the family, friends have made bracelets that will be sold to benefit the fund.

The bracelets have the message "missing Beau" on them. The words and colors were chosen by the family.

Breakshots, and Bootleggerz, taverns in the downtown Oconomowoc area, will have them for sale as soon as more are made.

"They will start selling them as soon as I have more. These things went like wildfire," Perry wrote on the memorial page.

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