Burnett County District Attorney William Norine responded Wednesday to a request from DrydenWire.com for a statement on the recent change in charges in the case of Allen Gene Thomas.
Charges of attempted homicide against Allen Thomas were replaced by different charges, according to online circuit court records. The case was not dismissed.
Thomas was originally charged with two counts of Class A Felony Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide as well as Class E Felony Aggravated Battery — Intend Great Bodily Harm following an incident in July 2016 at McKenzie Landing in Burnett County.
Statement by District Attorney Norine:
"This matter is set for trial on two counts of aggravated battery, each of which is a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. This amendment was done in exchange for the defendant’s complete waiver of his right to a jury trial, together with a stipulation to the facts of the case, which, to the great relief of the victims and their families, will spare the victims and their family members from the trauma of testifying at a jury trial since all of their testimony has been agreed to in advance by the defense. The amendment was done in full consultation with the victims and their families and is in our view the best path forward. It is also expected that the defendant will pursue an insanity defense, and the State has hired an expert witness to refute any such claim.In short, we believe the present posture of this case to be just and quite frankly favorable to the state and to our victims.”
Frustration with news media: After his statement on the charges in the case, Norine expressed frustration over the way local news sources reported the change.
Norine said, "Responding to recent news reports about this trial, it just seems to me that the press in these parts seems to ‘spin' news stories in the worst possible light for the prosecution, making us look as bad as possible, when in fact the interests of strategy and justice are being pursued to the fullest extent possible, with consultation with all the parties affected."
A 3-day Court Trial hearing is scheduled for September 2018 on Thomas’ charges of Aggravated Battery.