Sunday, July 8, 2012

Green Bay, WI: Man charged in girlfriend's killing held on $500,000 bond

A man accused of stabbing his live-in girlfriend to death Saturday will be held in the Brown County Jail on $500,000 cash bond to await the balance of his initial appearance.

Richard S. Gardipee, 31, was charged Monday in Brown County Circuit Court with first-degree intentional homicide as a domestic violence incident and with a misdemeanor obstructing charge. Court Commissioner Lawrence Gazeley set bond at $500,000 and scheduled Gardipee’s next court hearing for July 18.

Gardipee is accused of stabbing Wendy J. Botsford, also known as Wendy Garcia, at their home at 944 Christiana St. Saturday. He also is accused of struggling with an arresting officer.

A criminal complaint says Gardipee texted a friend at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday to ask what the prison penalty was for murder. Later that afternoon, Gardipee had blood on his clothing and knuckles when he went to the friend’s house, saying he “messed up,” and began crying. Gardipee left, and the friend, who previously thought Gardipee had been joking, called police.

A Green Bay police officer found Gardipee outside the house about 4:54 p.m. with Botsford’s 4-year-old boy, the complaint says. Gardipee refused to give his name, and when the officer told him police received a call that the woman resident of the house may have been hurt, Gardipee shoved the young boy toward the officer, saying, “You take him,” and ran toward the house. Police caught him before he could enter the side door, the complaint said.

Gardipee was laughing and thrashing to prevent police from searching him, and kept laughing as they handcuffed him and loaded him into a squad car, the complaint says.

Police found Botsford’s body on the basement floor. Her face and shirt were bloody, the complaint says.

Gardipee allegedly told police they physically began fighting that morning after she accused him of abusing pain killers. He allegedly said they threw things at each other and punched each other, and that he eventually picked up a kitchen knife and stabbed her.

Gardipee said he locked the woman’s son in a bathroom, then drove to his friend’s house to say he had hurt Botsford, then returned home, the complaint said. He had forgotten his key and used an ax from the garage to break in, the complaint says.

He changed out of his bloody clothing and took the boy outside just before police arrived, the complaint says.

Fifteen friends and family of the alleged victim sat in the courtroom during Gardipee’s initial appearance.

“You want a comment?” a man who had been weeping during the hearing asked a reporter afterward. “I’m asking everybody to pray for my grandson.”

Lindsay Smith identified herself as a long-time friend of Botsford’s. Smith said Botsford had been living with Gardipee at the home that she owned for about 2 ½ years but was in the process of breaking up with him.

Smith said she and Botsford made plans to go out Saturday evening and arranged to have Smith’s sister babysit the 4-year-old, but later, Botsford never responded to Smith’s text messages, and Smith assumed her friend just made other plans.

Smith said the 4-year-old boy was Botsford’s son from her former marriage. She said Botsford and Gardipee used to date years ago, then started their relationship up again about 2 ½ years ago.

She said Botsford worked at a local restaurant up until recently, when a health issue forced her to stop, and she had been working several parttime bartender jobs since then.

“She was a great mom, a great person, and she would never want to hurt anyone,” Smith said.

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