The man accused of the murder of a retired Wisconsin judge and the creator of an apparent hit list targeting prominent politicians had been convicted in 2005 of six years in prison by the slain judge.
John Roemer, a former Juneau County Circuit Court judge, was found dead in his home in the Township of New Lisbon on Friday morning, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. A senior law enforcement official said Roemer had been bound with zip ties.
Douglas K. Uhde, 56, suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and was hospitalized. He remains in critical condition, the department said.
It was not clear whether Uhde had retained an attorney on Sunday.
In 2005, Roemer sentenced Uhde to six years in prison on a charge of armed burglary with a dangerous weapon, according to Wisconsin Circuit Court records. Uhde pleaded guilty to the charge, as well as to charges of carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a short-barreled shotgun and being a felon in possession of a firearm, records show.
Tony Evers, who might have been one of the politicians on Uhde's alleged hit list, called Roemer's killing abhorrent to our judiciary, according to NBC affiliate WTMJ of Milwaukee.
I mean, the idea that a judge from a rural county is targeted and murdered is just abhorrent to our judiciary and leadership in our state and our county, Evers said. God, we can do better than this in Wisconsin. Around 6: 30 a.m., police arrived at Roemer's home to report that an armed person had been present and two shots had been fired. The caller left the home and contacted the Juneau County Sheriff's Office from a nearby residence, according to police.
The authorities tried to negotiate with Uhde, who was still in the home, but their attempts were unsuccessful, the department said. A response team entered around 10: 17 a.m. and found Roemer's body in the basement.
A senior law enforcement official said the judge was tied up with zip ties. A gun was found at the scene, the department said.
Roemer, 68, was targeted by the gunman, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Attorney General Josh Kaul said at a news conference that Uhde appears to have had other targets but has refused to identify them.
He said that it appears to be related to the judicial system. We are not aware of any evidence that there is an active danger to other individuals. Those who have been other targets have been notified of that. Two senior law enforcement officials who were briefed on the incident said the apparent hit list included U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Evers and Michigan Gov. The law enforcement officials said that the list was found as Uhde was transported to the hospital.
Whitmer's office said it was notified by law enforcement about the list but could not comment further.
Governor Whitmer has shown repeatedly that she is tough, and she will not be bullied or intimidated from doing her job and working across the aisle to get things done for the people of Michigan, her office said in a statement.
A spokesman for Evers said his office didn't comment on specific security threats or the governor's security detail. The threat against McConnell was notified by the U.S. Capitol Police.
Roemer was first elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2010 and 2016 according to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He retired in 2017.
He also served as an assistant district attorney for Juneau County, an assistant state public defender, as well as a lieutenant colonel for the U.S. Army Reserves.