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News from around Wisconsin (9:43 p.m. 3/2/10)

No word on charges in Milwaukee slayings, fire

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Police on Tuesday were still trying to sort out a case involving five suspects and their possible involvement in the homicides of two women, two children and a fire to cover up some of the deaths.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said Monday that five people had been arrested in the slayings of 23-year-old Rachel Thompson and her sons — 4-year-old Torian Thompson-Carter and 3-year-old Jaden Thompson-Carter. Their bodies were discovered after an arson fire early Friday at their Milwaukee duplex.

Another woman who lived at the home — 19-year-old Brittney Robertson — was found shot to death at a different residence hours after the fire, and police said she also may have been involved in the family’s deaths. Police have not said how the Thompson family died or given a motive.

Thompson’s 6-week-old son, Maurice Visor Jr., was taken but found unharmed outside a church.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said Tuesday he suspects police will turn the case over to his office later this week, but he didn’t know whether charges would be filed that soon.

The children’s grandmother, Tondalia Massey, 37, said her son, Freddie Carter, the father of the boys, broke down when she told him about the deaths. He and Thompson had been together for seven years before he went to prison three years ago for recklessly endangering safety, Massey said.

She said she didn’t know Robertson and that she last saw Thompson about a month ago. She also said she didn’t know why anyone would kill Thompson and the boys.

Trek Bicycle Corp. loses lawsuit against winery

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Trek Bicycle Corp. has lost a federal trademark lawsuit it filed against the northern California Trek Winery.

The Wisconsin-based bike manufacturer sued the winery in federal court, arguing that it violated federal and state trademark infringement laws by using the Trek name.

But U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb on Tuesday granted a motion by the Novato, Calif., winery to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. She ruled that the bike maker failed to show that the winery had sufficient contacts with Wisconsin to satisfy legal requirements for the lawsuit to be heard in federal court in Wisconsin.

Attorneys for both the winery and the bike maker did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the ruling.

Wood says he shouldn’t face discipline over DUIs

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin lawmaker charged three times with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs launched an aggressive defense Tuesday against proposals by his colleagues to punish him.

Rep. Jeffrey Wood proposed that a committee considering whether to expel, censure or reprimand him be disbanded with no action taken. His resolution recounts the cases of more than 20 lawmakers charged with a range of crimes dating back to the 1940s, and notes neither the Assembly nor the Senate took action against them.

Wood’s resolution notes he has yet to be convicted, that his constituents haven’t recalled him and that his alleged misconduct didn’t relate to his legislative duties. The resolution suggests he is being treated differently than previous lawmakers who faced legal troubles because he is the first independent to serve in the Legislature in decades.

A special ethics committee is expected to hold a public hearing to consider punishment against Wood on Wednesday. Wood, 40, a former Republican who represents a district in northwestern Wisconsin, could testify in his defense.

Wood, of Chippewa Falls, is expected to plead no contest next month to third-offense operating under the influence and possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors, stemming from his arrest in Columbia County in December 2008.

A trooper arrested him after he drove erratically for miles, and crashed into a highway sign. His blood alcohol content was far above the legal limit, and the trooper found two small bags of marijuana and a pipe in his vehicle.

In September, he was arrested near Wausau and charged with operating under the influence and inattentive driving after a motorist said he was swerving. Police said he had taken a large amount of cough syrup and prescription anti-anxiety medication.

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