Suspect in ninja attack remains in custody pending psychological evaluation

May 6, 2010

Attorney Robert Peterson entered a plea of denial on Thursday in Milwaukee County Children's Court on behalf of a 16-year-old River Hills boy charged with felony substantial battery for an alleged assault on a 14-year-old Bayside boy in the woods behind Nicolet High School on April 27.

The boy needed 20 stitches to close a wound over his right eye after being struck by a machete. He was one of four Nicolet students, who, after hearing that two girls had seen a boy dressed as a ninja in the woods the previous day, went to see if they could find him after school ended. The boy was attacked when he was briefly separated from his companions.

The suspect will undergo a psychological evaluation and remain in secure detention until its completion. He will then be moved to a secure shelter where he will stay until his next court date, May 21.

Peterson told Judge Frederick Rosa that the boy has no mental health issues, does not have any criminal history, has a stable family and should be allowed to return home. He is home-schooled and would not be leaving the property, he said.

Peterson also revealed the suspect was working on private property at the behest of the property owner, clearing brush and buckthorn.

"He was where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing," Peterson said.

Both Peterson and the boy's father told the judge that neighbors have objected to high school students trespassing on their properties and told the suspect to tell trespassers to leave.

The father told the court the machete was purchased two weeks ago in order to clear brush and buckthorn.

Assistant District Attorney Donald Jackson said weapons seized by police at the boy's home, statements to police about the incident and the wound inflicted on the Bayside boy support continued secure detention for the suspect until the evaluation is complete. Jackson said the Bayside boy has nerve damage that may or may not repair itself. The weapons included a bow and arrow and sword as well as the machete.

Rosa said the offense was very serious and ordered the boy held until after the evaluation, saying there are legitimate community safety concerns.

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