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Judge won't drop homocide charge in Butschke murder

Jefferson – A judge today denied a motion to drop a homicide charge against an Oconomowoc teen for his alleged role in the murder of Beau Butschke July 14.

Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Randy Koschnick ruled a party to the crime of first-degree homicide against James H. Richards, 19, will stand, though he noted it was a "close case."

Richards is charged with party to the crime of first-degree homicide as he apparently did not take any action when James T. Richardson, 51, opened fired on Butschke, 28, of Ixonia, but was aware Richardson allegedly wanted to kill Butschke, according to prosecutors.

Attorney Jeffrey De La Rosa, who represents Richards, argued the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors was factually insufficient to support the charge as Richards has not conspired with Richardson prior to the murder, was not a direct participant in the killing and he did not aid or abet Richardson at the time of the homicide.

Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ argued that Richardson had made statements to Richards prior to the murder including a comment saying Richardson "joked" with Richards about killing Butschke.

Following the murder, Richardson allegedly gave Richards the weapon, they then allegedly took Butschke’s body to a storage unit to hide it and then returned to Richardson’s residence where they ate brats and drank beer that was allegedly was stolen from Butschke’s residence.

Koschnick ruled that because of the statements made by Richardson to Richards prior to the murder, that Richards did not take any action at the time of the murder and his conduct after the slaying that were sufficient inferences in the criminal complaint to show Richards was aware Richardson wanted to kill Butschke and Richards was willing to assist Richardson.

Both men will appear in court Sept. 8 for a preliminary hearing, which will determine if the case will go to trial. Along with the homicide charges, both men are charged with theft, and hiding a corpse with the intent to conceal a crime, all felonies.

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