The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Five bound over for trial in Mercer murder


May 24, 2018

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations Special Agent Michael Reimer testifies Wednesday morning at the preliminary hearing of Richard F.A. Allen, 27, of Lac du Flambeau, left, in Iron County Court at Hurley.


Hurley - Five men charged in the shooting death of a Lac du Flambeau, Wis., man whose body was found on New Year's Day in the Mercer area were bound over for trial Wednesday in Iron County Court.

Judge Patrick Madden bound over all five after listening to the testimony of Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigations Special Agent Michael Reimer, the only witness. Reimer was called to the stand by Assistant Attorney General Richard Dufour, lead special prosecutor in the case.

Reimer said Wayne M. Valliere Jr., 25, was last seen alive on Dec. 22 and described details of finding his body in the Mercer area.

Richard F.A. Allen, 27, of Lac du Flambeau; Evan T. Oungst, 27, of Arbor Vitae; Curtis A. Wolfe, 26, of Lac du Flambeau; James B. Lussier, 19, of Arbor Vitae, and Joseph D. Lussier, 26, of Lac du Flambeau, will be arraigned next Wednesday at 1 p.m., when trial dates will be discussed.

Craig Haukaas, an attorney for Joseph Lussier, filed a motion for a speedy trial.

Reimer testified for about a half hour. He said Oungst led investigators to Valliere's body in a secluded, wooded area.

Reimer said Joseph Lussier had told an inmate in jail that he had "slumped" Valliere. Reimer said he was later told that meant in gang jargon that he had killed him.

The suspects believed Valliere was a confidential informant and Reimer said there was a threat to kill Valliere at a party before the drive to Mercer occurred. All five defendants were at the party.

Allen shot Valliere in the face and Joseph Lussier fired several more bullets into the body, Reimer said.

An autopsy was conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison hospital days later, after the body had thawed, Reimer said.

A gun was recovered from the home of Wolfe's sister.

Reimer indicated there had been a fight prior to the shootings.

Haukaas asked Reimer to find the cause of death on the final autopsy report. Reimer looked through the papers for a few minutes before saying, "I don't see it spelled out here."

Haukaas suggested while investigators were told Valliere was shot in the face, that might not have been the case.

Reimer said there was blood coming out of the victim's cheek as he hit the ground from the initial gunshot, however.

James Lussier, Oungst and Wolfe waived their preliminary hearings before being bound over for trial.

Joseph Lussier and Allen were bound over by Madden after Reimer's testimony.

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

According to the criminal complaint signed by Iron County Sheriff's Department Lt. Paul Samardich, on Christmas Day Valliere's mother called Lac du Flambeau tribal police to report her son missing.

The complaint says Valliere was given methamphetamine during the ride and he knew he would be killed.

The body was recovered behind a berm, hidden off Swamp Creek Road, near the end of Moose Lake Road.

Dufour said he will attend next Wednesday's hearing in person, while some of the defense attorneys were given permission by the judge to appear by phone or videoconference.

The courtroom was packed for the hearing. Some spectators wept as they heard the testimony and there were shouts of "dirtbags" and "losers" as the defendants were escorted to the jail by officers from the courtroom.


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