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VanNatta accused of trying to have wife killed
Maximum sentence on 82 charges: 679 years in prison
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A Platteville man already facing more than 70 charges in connection with an alleged kidnapping and a series of alleged sexual encounters with a teenager faces even more charges in Grant County Circuit Court.

If convicted of all charges and sentenced to the maximum, Robert VanNatta faces 679 years in prison.

VanNatta was charged on Wednesday with party to solicitation of first-degree intentional homicide following an investigation conducted by Grant County Detective Rick Place.

VanNatta was in Grant County Circuit Court in Lancaster on Friday for his initial appearance on the solicitation charge. Grant County Judge, Craig Day set VanNatta’s bond at $25,000 cash and a preliminary hearing date has not been set.

According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, on July 5, a member of the Grant County Jail staff was notified by an inmate that VanNatta was soliciting other inmates to conspire to commit a crime against VanNatta’s wife.

The inmate told an investigator VanNatta informed him he paid a person $3,000 to “take care” of his wife so she would not testify in court against him. The inmate said VanNatta told him the person “screwed him” and didn’t follow through with it.

The inmate said VanNatta then asked him if he knew of anyone who could “take care” of his wife. The inmate also said VanNatta wanted to know what it would cost him or if he knew anyone who could help.

The investigator interviewed three additional inmates who shared similar information of conversations they had with VanNatta. Another inmate informed the deputy VanNatta offered him a truck, a four-wheeler and a lawnmower if he would kill his wife. Later on July 5, a Grant County Sheriff’s Detective informed Mrs. VanNatta of the solicitation attempts against her life.

If convicted of this class F felony, VanNatta faces a fine of not more than $25,000 or imprisonment of not more than 12 years and six months or both.

In March, VanNatta was charged with 30 counts of sex with a child 16 years of age or older and one count of exposing a child to harmful materials. Those charges were dropped and amended to include the initial 31 charges in addition to 40 new charges — 20 counts of exposing genitals to a child, with maximum penalty of 3½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and 20 counts of child enticement — expose sex organs, with maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine per count.

VanNatta also faces charges stemming from an incident at his residence on Jones and Vaassen Lane in the Town of Smelser on April 19. VanNatta has a status conference Monday at 1 p.m. on one charge of possessing explosives for unlawful purpose, one charge of kidnapping/seize or confine without consent, one count of false imprisonment, and three counts of felony bail jumping. VanNatta pleaded not guilty to the charges May 22. Those charges are set to go to a jury trial in August.

VanNatta remains jailed awaiting a status conference on July 30 at 1 p.m. in connection with the 71 charges stemming from alleged sexual contact with a child age 16 or older.