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News from around Wisconsin (8:48 p.m. 11/9/09)

3 wounded Wis. soldiers return to duty

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) — Three of the four soldiers from a Wisconsin-based U.S. Army Reserves medical combat stress unit who were wounded in the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting have returned to duty, a military spokesman said Monday.

The only soldier still hospitalized was a woman in serious but stable condition, Army Reserve spokesman Scott Ferguson said in a telephone interview from Fort McPherson in Atlanta, home of the U.S. Army Reserve Command. No name was released.

The wounded were among 43 soldiers from the Madison-based 467th Medical Command Detachment who had arrived at Fort Hood for training last Wednesday, a day before the shooting that killed 13 and wounded 29, Ferguson said.

According to Ferguson, three of the dead were assigned to the Madison unit, including two who lived in Wisconsin — Staff Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29, of Kiel, and Capt. Russell Seager, 51, of Racine.

Ferguson said soldiers from three Army Reserve medical command detachments with specialties in combat stress were injured in Thursday’s shooting, but the Madison unit suffered the most casualties. Detachment 1908 from Topeka, Kan., had two killed and three wounded and the 1493rd from Durham, N.C., had two wounded, he said.

Authorities say Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan fired off more than 100 rounds at a soldier processing center before civilian police shot him in the torso. He was recovering Monday at an Army hospital in San Antonio in stable condition, authorities said.

Ferguson said he did not know how many of the 43 soldiers assigned to the Madison detachment were at the processing center at the time of the shooting. There is no evidence Hasan had specifically targeted any of them, other than they happened to be close by when he decided to begin shooting, Ferguson said.

Sweat lodge probe includes hundreds of interviews

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — An investigation into the deaths of three people who were overcome at a sweat lodge ceremony in Arizona is expected to be forwarded to prosecutors next month.

Until then, Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh says his office will have no further comment.

Authorities are treating the deaths as homicides and say self-help guru James Arthur Ray is the primary focus of their probe. Others also are being investigated.

Ray led the sweat lodge ceremony on Oct. 8 as part of his five-day “Spiritual Warrior” retreat near Sedona. Ray says he’s hired his own investigative team to determine what went wrong.

Waugh says investigators are working diligently on hundreds of interviews with people who were involved in the retreat or any of Ray’s past events.

Milwaukee to dedicate new witness protection unit

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee man already convicted of trying to bribe a witness to a 2007 shooting has now been charged with hiring two hit men to kill that witness.

It’s the latest development in a case that led to the creation of a new witness protection program by Milwaukee prosecutors.

Prosecutors allege 29-year-old Larry V. Howard hired someone to kill 24-year-old Maurice Pulley Jr. after Pulley refused thousands of dollars to keep quiet.

Howard is now charged with being party to the crime of first-degree intentional homicide.

The criminal complaint alleges Howard didn’t want Pulley to testify against Howard’s brother, but Pulley appeared in court anyway. Three days later, Pulley was gunned down.

Howard was convicted of conspiracy to bribe a witness and sentenced to 4½ years in prison.

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