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Beaver Dam man guilty of reckless homicide

January 9, 2019

JUNEAU – A 41-year-old Beaver Dam man was found guilty Wednesday of reckless homicide in the 2016 death James L. Hook.

A 12-person jury deliberated for three hours and brought back the verdicts of guilty of first-degree reckless homicide and bail jumping in the death of Hook, who was 62 when he died.

Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Steven Bauer accepted the verdict and scheduled a sentencing in the case for May 1.

Hook’s autopsy revealed multi-drug toxicity as the cause of death, with other cardiomegaly and emphysema listed as other significant conditions. One of the drugs in his system was heroin.

Thompson, Hook and another man Leroy Stalker went to Madison on Feb. 9, 2016, to purchase heroin after pooling their money together.

Cell phone records for the call and text log that the three shared before and after the heroin pick up were requested as the jury deliberated its decision.

The last text on Hook’s phone allegedly came from Thompson, and Hook’s last text from his phone was to Thompson. Stalker had also sent texts to Hook. Stalker was questioned by police and said that Thompson had sold heroin to Hook.

Hook was was pronounced dead by a Dodge County medical examiner following a 911 call on Feb. 9, 2016 at 10:40 p.m. Dodge County Sheriff’s Office deputies found several prescription drug bottles on his coffee table. The prescription appeared to be pain relievers.

Dodge County District Attorney office managing attorney Robert Barrington told the jury that Stalker had been nervous the day before when he testified in the case, but he gave a more honest testimony than Thompson, who took the stand on Tuesday as well.

Thompson’s attorney John Smerlinski agreed the testimony of the eye witnesses was central in the case.

“Credibility is on display in determining whose version you will believe,” Smerlinski said to the jury in his closing argument.

Smerlinski said Stalker’s appeared nervous because he feared he would be charged with a crime.

“Mr. Stalker has yet to be charged with anything in this trial,” Smerlinski said.

“(Barrington) doesn’t know who delivered the heroin,” Smerlinski said. “And the reason I can say that is I can’t say either.”

Barrington said Thompson provided the only testimony in which Thompson was innocent.

“Who has more at stake in this trial than Mr. Thompson?” Barrington said.

Thompson remains in custody in the Dodge County Jail.

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