DARLINGTON — The state’s case against Jeremy Wand in connection with the Sept. 7 fatal house fire resumed Friday, less than a month after his brother was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
Jeremy Wand, 18, Argyle, faces four counts of party to first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and one count of arson.
The charges are in connection with the deaths of Armin and Sharon Wand’s three children — Allen, 7, Jeffrey, 5, and Joseph, 3 — and the Wands’ unborn daughter, and injuries to Sharon Wand and their daughter, Jessica, 2.
Armin Wand was sentenced to three life sentences without parole April 17.
Jeremy Wand is set to go to trial on the charges July 13. He faces maximum sentences of life in prison on the intentional homicide charges, 60 years in prison on the attempted homicide charges, and 40 years in prison and a fine of $100,000 on the arson charge if convicted.
Wand’s hearing in Lafayette County Circuit Court Friday afternoon was supposed to be a hearing on a defense motion to suppress Wand’s statements to authorities after the fire. However, Wand’s attorney, Frank Medina, withdrew the motion.
The hearing instead covered the questionnaire that is being sent to potential jurors in an unnamed part of Wisconsin before jury selection in that county July 12.
Wand’s attorney, Frank Medina, objected to two sets of questions in the proposed questionnaire — asking whether jurors had ever been arrested on a misdemeanor charge, including drunk driving, and whether they had been a victim of domestic violence.
“Misdemeanor convictions are not a basis for excluding jurors from serving on a jury,” said Taylor. “Negative experiences jurors may have had dealing with law enforcement or the judiciary … could potentially serve as a basis for the state to exclude jurors for a reason that is invalid.”
“The fact someone’s convicted of a misdemeanor is not an area that’s protected,” said Assistant Attorney General Roy Korte. “That question is not objectionable; it’s certainly a question that can be asked in voir dire,” open-court jury selection. “It’s not a prohibited question in any way, shape or form.”
Sharon Wand accused Armin Wand of domestic abuse in her statement at Armin Wand’s sentencing. Armin Wand’s plea agreement on two of the eight charges included testifying against his brother if asked by the state.
“My client, Jeremy, has not been involved in domestic violence,” said Taylor, adding that the questions “raises the tent, or a look, at the case as if he’s a domestic-violence person. … It raises a question where there isn’t any.”
“It doesn’t suggest the defendant in this case committed the act of domestic violence,” said Korte, who brought up Armin Wand as a potential witness and said the question was “relevant to that witness’ conduct and probably his testimony. … That is why we raise sensitive issues in jury questionnaires.”
Green County Circuit Judge Thomas Vale allowed the questions to remain in the jury questionnaire. He said the domestic-violence question is about “the credibility of witnesses,” and added, “I don’t think it taints the defendant any more than asking if you’ve been the victim of a crime.”
Wand’s next hearing, on pretrial motions, is scheduled for June 12 at 9 a.m.