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Weeden charged in Pauls death

Richland County District Attorney Jennifer Harper announced Tuesday that Andrew T. Weeden has been formally charged in the February death of Rachael Pauls.

Weeden faces charges of first degree reckless homicide, battery-bodily harm, and substantial battery, all with repeater enhancements due to previous felony conviction.

If convicted, he faces a sentence not to exceed 60 years on the reckless homicide charge alone.

The criminal complaint, issued on April 5, 2016, includes statements of probable cause, with reports from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, State of Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, a Village of Muscoda Emergency Medical Technician, relatives of the suspect and victim, and a Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office Forensic Pathologist.

The responding EMT found that the victim was cold and had no pulse. The report states that the EMT observed bruising on the victim’s face and belly, as well as a laceration of four to six inches long on her right side.

The report includes statements made by relatives of the suspect and victim, who arrived at the scene. Their comments indicated that there was a history of alcohol consumption and fighting between the two.

Weeden made statements to a Richland County Sheriff’s Department investigator as well as to a Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation officer. These included that Weeden and Pauls got into an argument regarding Pauls being on the phone when they were supposed to be watching a movie. Weeden said that Pauls walked through the kitchen with a steak knife. The report states, “He freaked out and hit her in the face a bunch of times. Weeden knew he hit both of Pauls’ cheek bones (sic) and believed that’s what made her eyes black…Weeden did not think he hit Pauls anywhere else on Pauls’ body, but stated he could have.”

Autopsy results are also included in the criminal complaint.

Forensic Pathologist Dr. Vincent Tanchida made a preliminary finding that Pauls died of a homicide (struck by other). The cause of death was blunt force trauma of torso with laceration of the mesentery and internal hemorrhage. Although not the cause of death, Dr. Tranchida noted that there were two hemorrhagic fractures of the lateral aspects of right ribs 7 and 8.

Weeden’s initial appearance in Richland County Circuit Court was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7.