The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Vilas sheriff says murder suspect visited jail, left


February 16, 2018

EAGLE RIVER, Wis. — A published story says a 19-year-old man wanted in an Iron County, Wis., murder case tried to turn himself in to Vilas County authorities last Friday.

The Lakeland Times reported Thursday that James B. Lussier, 19, of Arbor Vitae, showed up at the Vilas County Justice Center that evening, but was told he needed to turn himself in to the Iron County Sheriff’s Department in Hurley instead. He then left the building without being detained, the story says.

Lussier and four other men are charged in the death Wayne Valliere, 25, a Lac du Flambeau man whose body was found on New Year’s Day in the Mercer area.

A warrant had been issued for Lussier’s arrest.

The Lakeland Times story said Vilas County Sheriff Joseph Fath confirmed that Lussier came to the sheriff’s department window around 8 p.m. Friday, accompanied by two women, one of whom was his mother.

The sheriff said Lussier was then told he could be booked at the jail, and was told to sit down.

The suspect then left the building.

The sheriff said he was looking into the incident, attempting to determine why the vehicle Lussier left in wasn’t stopped.

Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Richard Dufour, lead special prosecutor, has also filed charges in Iron County Circuit Court against Richard F.A. Allen, 27, of Lac du Flambeau; Evan T. Oungst, 27, of Arbor Vitae; Curtis A. Wolfe, 26, of Lac du Flambeau, and Joseph D. Lussier, 26, of Lac du Flambeau.

The suspects are scheduled to appear in Iron County Court on March 5.

All of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree intentional homicide as a party to a crime while armed with a dangerous weapon and also with hiding a corpse.

Valliere was shot eight times after being beaten. A criminal complaint says the suspects thought he was a confidential informant.

An arrest alert for James Lussier had been issued by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and anyone harboring him could also face charges.

“We’re confident we’re going to locate him. We know he’s in the area. We’re hoping his family will convince him to do the right thing,” Fath said, according to News 12-Rhinelander. 

—Ralph Ansami


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