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April 2014

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Summit man, 27, charged with homicide in father's death

Shawn Witt, 27, of the Town of Summit is lead into Waukesha County Intake Court on Friday, Jan 24Witt is charged with first-degree intentional homicide for the death of his father, James Witt, along with numerous other charges.

Shawn Witt, 27, of the Town of Summit is lead into Waukesha County Intake Court on Friday, Jan 24Witt is charged with first-degree intentional homicide for the death of his father, James Witt, along with numerous other charges. Photo by: Scott Ash

Father filed restraining order day before his death

Shawn T. Witt was charged Friday in Waukesha County Circuit Court with first-degree intentional homicide, accused of killing his 60-year-old father at their shared home in Summit.

Witt, 27, has also been charged with narcotic drug possession, two counts of misdemeanor theft, two counts of violating a restraining order, and two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping.

He is currently being held in Waukesha County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.

According to the criminal complaint, Summit Police were dispatched at about 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 to check in on the well-being of James Witt, Jr., who resided at 34825 Elm St.

Officers were greeted at the residence by Shawn Witt, who told police his father had "gone up north," the complaint states. Also present were two friends of Shawn Witt, who are not currently facing charges related to the incident.

Shawn Witt had been accused the day before of beating his father after an altercation at the residence. He was charged with battery and disorderly conduct and released on a $1,500 signature bond on the condition that he have no contact with his father.

James Witt had also requested a temporary restraining order.

"He yells at me all the time because I made him get a job," James Witt wrote in the request. "I fear for my life. He said he is taking over the house and I cannot stop him."

James Witt said his son had once put electrical wires to his head in an attempt to kill him.

The restraining order was granted and Shawn Witt was served the order in jail.

According to the complaint, officers decided to search the residence to make sure everything was all right. They found James Witt's body in the basement, wrapped in a blanket. Next to his body was a rifle.

Shawn Witt told police in the complaint that he had gone back to his father's house after being released from jail. He claimed that his father had come at him with a knife and he shot him twice in self-defense.

No knife described by Shawn Witt was found at the residence, the complaint states.

He told police in the complaint that he had lied to his friends and said his father committed suicide. The friends helped him burn a couch that had blood on it and they then went to Milwaukee to sell items belonging to James Witt. The money made from the sale was used to purchase heroin, Shawn Witt said.

Police later learned that James Witt's debit card was used at a Kwik-Trip gas station in Oconomowoc. Shawn Witt admitted to using the card after he killed his father, the complaint states.

Witt later changed his statement and said he may have shot his father three times, according to the complaint. He said James Witt seemed to be in pain, "so he decided to put him out of his misery and shot him in the head."

A medical examiner concluded that Witt was shot once in the left buttocks and once in the abdomen, but both wounds were survivable. The gunshot wound to the head was the fatal wound, the complaint states.

Assistant District Attorney Lesli Boese said at a news conference on Friday, Jan. 24, that James Witt did the right thing in requesting the restraining order.

"We tell people it is a piece of paper," she said. "They still need to be diligent. We offer them resources and we do the best we can."

Shawn Witt had previously been convicted in Jefferson County of operating while intoxicated on three separate occasions, according to court records.

The Waukesha County Sheriffs Department worked with the Summit Police Department to investigate James Witt's death. Dan Trawicki commended the Summit Police Department on its response to the incident at the news conference.

Shawn Witt is expected to appear at a court hearing on Jan. 30

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