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Gov. Evers grants 71 pardons since May

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 10:57 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 5:25 PM CDT
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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WBAY) - The governor’s office says Tony Evers is on track to pardon more people than any governor in contemporary history. In Milwaukee. Gov. Evers announced 10 more pardons after the Pardon Advisory Board met in August. It brings his total to 263 pardons -- 71 of those in the past four months.

Evers restored the Pardon Advisory Board in 2019. His predecessor, Scott Walker, didn’t issue any pardons during eight years as governor.

Evers says he made it a priority for his Administration “to address the profound racial inequities” in Wisconsin’s criminal justice system. In addition to the latest pardons, the governor signed an executive order creating stricter criteria to be eligible for parole but at the same time streamlining the process. Under the order, the chair of the advisory board can forward an application for parole directly to the governor, without a board hearing, if the person was convicted of a non-violent offense and “sufficient time has passed” since their conviction.

The new application process also permits people to request pardons after completing all their sentences after five years have passed, not just a pardon for their most recent felony.

A pardon doesn’t clear a person’s criminal record, but it restores rights to hold certain professional licenses, hold public office, and some other rights lost due to felony convictions.

May

• Gary Oppermann was 42 when he was charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine. 16 years later, Oppermann is eager to advance his career. He has a daughter and grandchildren, and currently resides in Ripon, Wisconsin.

• Taurus Kuykendall was 19 when he was caught with possession of a firearm while on grounds of a school. Kuykendall operates as a consultant. He resides in Fort Meyers, Florida.

• Katherine McCall was 23 when she manufactured/delivered cocaine. She currently works in customer service. She is the mother to two children, and currently resides in Green Bay.

• Traci McMorran was 26 when she was caught selling cannabis. She is currently a truck driver. McMorran resides in Pound, Wisconsin.

• Curtis Thomas was 44 when he committed burglary in which he stole guns from his neighbor. Thomas has undergone counseling and has made changes in his life. He is the father to four children and has grandchildren. He currently resides in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

• Timothy Kosobucki was 20 when he committed theft at his place of employment. Since his conviction, Kosobucki has worked in the construction industry. He currently resides in Missouri with his wife and two children.

• John Bowen was 19 when he escaped while on Huber release. He is now a truck driver. Bowen currently resides in Janesville and hopes to make an impact on the youth in his community.

• Camille Coffee was 21 when she was committed theft. As a young parent, Coffee struggled financially to take care of her children. As an employee at a restaurant, Coffee made a series of fraudulent transfers to her personal accounts in which she used the money to pay bills. She is now married and resides in Waukesha.

• David Bennett was 19 when he was caught selling cannabis. He is now an ordained minister and owner of Bennett Consulting, providing IT services to non-profit organizations. Bennett is married and resides in Milwaukee.

• Penny Krauss was 28 when she committed theft. While struggling to support her daughter and additionally in an abusive relationship, Krauss stole $3,000 from her workplace. Krauss has been employed as a program assistant since 2008. Krauss has raised three daughters and is a grandmother of two. She resides in Sparta, Wisconsin.

• Kathrine Barber was 40 when she suffered a mental health crisis in which she eluded an officer, operated a firearm while intoxicated, and endangered public safety with the use of a dangerous weapon. 26 years later, Barber has developed into an activist and leader within her community. She currently resides in Massachusetts with her partner.

• Sara Ochs was 31 when she committed forgery. Ochs was homeless and struggled with as significant addiction. She wrote a check out to herself and cashed it. Ochs is enrolled in school and is working towards a degree in human services. She has goals to help others who struggle with addiction. She currently resides in Milwaukee.

• Jada Denman was 19 when she operated a vehicle without consent. Denman is now a mother to three daughters. She recently obtained her CNA license and hopes to eventually operate her own healthcare facility. She currently resides in Neenah, Wisconsin.

• Debra Ross was 25 when she was convicted of failing to report receipt of income while receiving benefits. As a young mother, she struggled financially to provide for her children. She has raised three kids, and is employed in customer service in Round Rock, Texas.

• John Suchomel was 17 when he was caught receiving stolen property and manufacturing/delivering cocaine. 24 years later, Suchomel is now the owner of his own dry wall contractor company. He is the father to two children, and currently resides in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

• Jeremy Ceballos was 17 when he was committed burglary. He has worked for the last eight years in construction. Ceballos resides in Janesville with his wife of 12 years, and three children.

• Veronica Warren was 17 when she committed forgery. Lang has now obtained a bachelor’s degree and plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health. She now has three children and currently resides in Milwaukee.

• William Phillips was 26 when he was charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine. He is currently a secretary at a transportation company in Kenosha, where he resides. He hopes to eventually go hunting with his grandkids.

• Max Mueller was 17 when he was caught selling cannabis. He is now married and is the father to two children. Mueller is the president of a manufacturing company and currently resides in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

• Tammy Wade was 28 when she used someone else’s personal information to obtain utility and telephone service. She now lives in Milwaukee with her family, where she works as a CNA.

June

• Joshua Bush was 19 when he and some friends committed a string of burglaries to furnish their own home. He lives in Shell Lake, Wisconsin with his family where he owns and operates a turkey farm.

• James Thao was just 16 when he and friends took and drove cars without the owners’ consent. Now an EMT, he lives in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

• Larry Wright was 23 when he fled police in his vehicle. He lives in Milwaukee where he and his wife own a daycare center.

• Daniel Schuldt was in his early 30s when he failed to pay child support. Now a truck driver, he resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

• Jonathan Phillips was 22 and enrolled at UW-Whitewater when he sold Adderall to undercover police officer. He has since completed his bachelor’s degree and now lives in Waterford, Wisconsin.

• Thomas Smith was in his late teens when he drove his friends as they burglarized several homes and businesses. Now a father of two, he lives in West Allis, Wisconsin and works as an auto technician.

• Trent Vetrone was 17 when he and others burglarized several retail businesses. He lives with his family in Coloma, Wisconsin and works in construction.

• Robert Bellinger was 16 when he and some friends broke into a friend’s house and stole video games and consoles. He lives with his family in Plover, Wisconsin, where he works as a cook.

• Seng Lor was 17 when he drove friends who burglarized a bar and laundromat. He now lives in Sun Prairie with his family and works in for an architectural design consulting firm.

• Rebecca Sina was 18 and pregnant when she forged signatures on stolen checks to pay for food and rent. She now lives with her family in Ripon, Wisconsin, where she runs a farm.

• Jeffrey Soik was 40 when he grew cannabis at his residence. He now lives with his significant other in Sun Prairie.

• Nathan Malinoski was 21 when he sold an illegal substance to a confidential informant. He has owned his auto parts business for nearly ten years and lives in Baldwin, Wisconsin.

• Gary Bellis, Jr. was 21 when he sold an illegal substance to an undercover officer. Three decades later, he lives in Baraboo, Wisconsin with his spouse.

• Tamara Norwood Thomas was 20 when she was caught in possession of an illegal substance following the death of her mother. She lives in Milwaukee and is self-employed.

• David Pflughoeft was 21 when he agreed to sell an illegal substance to a police officer. He lives with his family in Fort Mill, South Carolina. • Maxwell Rathke was 19 when he and two friends burglarized an electronics store. He now works professionally as a network administrator and serves as station manager for his church’s FM radio station. He lives in Appleton.

• Timothy Easker was 42 when he was caught growing an illegal substance in his home. He and his family live in Mondovi, Wisconsin, where he works in public health, celebrating 18 years of sobriety.

• Timm Rosenthal was 19 when he and a friend stole automobile parts and tools. A father of two, he lives in Wisconsin Rapids and owns and operates a business.

• Jeffrey Fischer was in his late 30s when he failed to report income from a client and made false representations to state and federal agencies in relation to his company’s environmental remediation work. He lives in Pickett, Wisconsin and works for an engineering consulting firm.

July

• Timothy Tennant was in his 20s when he failed to pay child support for his kids to two women. He now works in construction and lives in Kimball, Nebraska.

• Justin Ellis was 18 when he sold an illegal substance to an undercover officer. A father and a grandfather, he lives in Eau Claire.

• Demitree Johnson was in his late teens when he sold liquor that he stole from the distributor he worked for and used a stolen credit card to make fraudulent purchases. Now a father of four, he is the successful owner of three small businesses and lives in Whitefish Bay.

• Andrew Schalk was 20 when he was found in possession of an illegal substance. After earning his associate degree, he now lives with his family in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

• Porsha Brown was 17 when she damaged a vehicle. She has since earned her associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees and is pursuing a doctoral degree. She lives with her family in Gilbert, Arizona.

• Kimberley Stevens was 17 when she mailed an illegal substance to a correctional facility. She now works in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, where she is also a volunteer firefighter.

• LaTanya Simmons was in her late teens when she failed to report her income while receiving public assistance. She has earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and provides clinical therapy in Milwaukee.

• Misty Krueger was 18 when she assisted in an armed robbery. She has since earned her associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees concentrating in business and accounting while working full-time and raising her daughter. She lives with her family in Fremont, Wisconsin.

• Danita Green was 30 with five kids when she failed to report her income while receiving public assistance. She has earned her associate and bachelor’s degrees and works as a paraprofessional in the Milwaukee Public School District. She resides in Milwaukee.

• Daniel Balderas was 17 when he was caught in possession of an illegal substance. He earned his real estate broker’s license and helps first-time homebuyers. He lives in Greenfield, Wisconsin.

• Audra Thompson-Rivers was a 23-year-old single mom when she sold an illegal substance to an undercover officer. An MATC graduate, she and her husband have a son and live in Milwaukee.

• Stephen Harris was 18 when he was caught in possession of a firearm in a school zone. He now owns and operates a hair studio in Racine, where he lives with his wife and kids.

• Patricia Ryan was a young mom at 17 when she stabbed her abusive partner trying to take her child from her. She earned her associate degree and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree so she can become a bilingual teacher. She resides in Alvarado, Texas.

• Shirley Alexander was a single mom in her mid-30s when she was caught selling an illegal substance to an undercover officer. She went back to school to become a welder and volunteers her time encouraging young women to consider the career. Now a grandmother, she lives in Milwaukee.

• Adam Boettcher was 18 when he and friends committed a string of burglaries. He has earned his associate degree and has been employed by the federal government in information technology for nearly twenty years. He resides in Mosinee, Wisconsin.

• Sherri Schroeder was 26 when she tried to use a gift card she had stolen from her previous employer to purchase merchandise. She has earned her bachelor’s degree, criminal justice certificate, two master’s degrees, and certificates in grief support and clinical supervision. She works as a coordinator and clinical substance abuse counselor and lives in Madison.

• Elizabeth Miller was 20 when she sold an illegal substance to an undercover officer. She has earned two associate degrees and volunteers at her church. She lives in Grafton, Wisconsin.

• Donald Grant was 23 when he was caught driving a vehicle that did not belong to him. He has since earned his commercial driver’s license and other driving certifications. He resides with his family in Milwaukee.

• Sheli Jo Metzger was 38 when she was found in possession of methamphetamine. She works as a substance abuse counselor and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree. She lives in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

• Howard Larsen was 21 when he and a friend burglarized a bowling alley nearly forty years ago. He lives with his family in Rock Springs, Wisconsin.

• Edward Creggett was 21 when he participated in an armed robbery of a tavern forty-five years ago. He has been a youth mentor and coach through various charitable organizations and is a proud father of two. He resides in Milwaukee.

• Rokeshia Grant was 25 when she was caught in possession of an illegal substance she had obtained to try to manage her pain following a motorcycle crash. She works as a caregiver and is enrolled in technical college, continuing her education in childcare. She lives with her kids in Milwaukee.

August

• Darwin Lamke was 20 when he stole a floor shifter and a grille from vehicles that didn’t belong to him. Over 27 years later, he lives with his spouse in Watertown, Wisconsin.

• Joey Phillips was in his late 20s when he drove his friend’s car without consent and failed to pay child support. He lives in Milwaukee.

• John Salmi was a 19-year-old UW-Stout student struggling to support himself financially when he took someone’s checks and used one to pay court-related expenses. Almost 45 years later, he has built a successful career in information technology and lives with his family in Hudson, Wisconsin.

• Bradley Matson was a 19-year-old student at UW-Platteville when he sold cannabis to a confidential informant. More than ten years after this offense, he works as a project coordinator for his family business and lives in Madison.

• LaTonya McAfee was 20 when she used someone else’s name and social security number to obtain telephone and utility service for her family. Over 20 years later, she lives in Milwaukee and works as a nurse.

• Letitia McCoats was 22 raising two kids when she cashed a forged check and attempted to cash another. She has since earned her associate and bachelor’s degrees, climbed the ranks in her employment, and remained active in her union. She lives in Milwaukee.

• LaKeidra Madison was 24 when she created fraudulent loan applications at the financial institution where she worked. Fifteen years later, she is an accomplished author, mother, and hardworking city employee. She lives with her family in Milwaukee.

• Talmadge Pinkston was in his early 30s, struggling with alcoholism and undiagnosed PTSD, and unable to hold down a job to be able pay his child support obligations. Celebrating his fifth year of sobriety and finally receiving care through his employer at the VA in Milwaukee, where he resides, he intends to obtain his social work degree.

• Precious Harris was 22, pregnant, and without a job or child support when she made fraudulent financial transactions. Now a mother of three, she works as a caregiver in a residential facility and aspires to obtain her social work degree so that she can help youth entangled in the juvenile justice system. She lives in Milwaukee.

• Jermaine Page was 24 when he was caught in possession of cannabis. After obtaining his technical degree, he has volunteered his time teaching his trade to young people. He lives with his family in Milwaukee.

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