The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Cousin claims Allen confessed to Iron murder

 

August 7, 2018



By RALPH ANSAMI

ransami@yourdailyglobe.com

Hurley — A key witness in the trial of two Lac du Flambeau men who are charged in the execution-style shooting of a fellow tribal member testified Monday one of them confessed to the crime.

Clint Eades Jr. testified Richard F.A. Allen, 27, said he and Joseph D. Lussier, 26, shot and killed Wayne M. Valliere Jr. on Dec. 22.

Allen and Lussier are charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree homicide and hiding a corpse in the death of Valliere. It was the opening day of their Iron County trial.

Eades, who said he is a cousin of Allen, said the two were “pretty close.”

On Dec. 23 or Dec. 24, Eades said Allen was talking with him in the kitchen of Eades’ mother’s house in Lac du Flambeau, “when he told me what happened.”

Eades said Allen and “Joey” went for a ride in a vehicle with Valliere, who was beaten and shot by the two.

Allen shot Valliere in the cheek and then “Joey emptied a clip into him,” Eades testified.

Eades, the father of five children, said he told law enforcement officers of what he had heard after he was arrested. He testified he has been convicted of crimes 17 times.

He said Allen acted strangely and “appeared to be on something,” but also testified he was high when arrested and didn’t tell officers about what Allen had allegedly said until the next morning at the jail.

Eades said he was concerned, “I’d wind up dead, too.”

Clint Eades Sr. testified his son said Allen shot Valliere in the cheek. “It had something to do with Wayne being a snitch,” Eades Sr. testified.

Valliere’s body was dumped near Mercer. It was found on New Year’s day along desolated Swamp Creek Road.

Also charged in the death are Evan T. Oungst, 27, of Arbor Vitae; James Lussier, 19, of Woodruff, and Curtis Wolfe, 26, of Lac du Flambeau.

James Lussier entered a guilty plea Thursday afternoon to being a party to the crime of felony murder and two counts of aiding a felon. He is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 5.

The 14-person jury was selected by 11:30 a.m., with opening statements beginning after lunch. The trial moved at a brisk pace that pleased Iron County Judge Patrick Madden and court was recessed before 3 p.m. after nine witnesses had testified.

Wayne Valliere Sr. said his son was not home on the morning of Friday, Dec. 22, when the two had planned to go hunting. He said they had discussed plans for the future the night before and his son was in good spirits.

Valliere Jr.’s fiance, Iris Carufel, testified about the planned hunting trip that didn’t happen. She said the last time she saw Valliere Jr., he kissed her and told her not to worry, that he’d be back. He then left with Joseph Lussier, she said.

She said Joseph Lussier said he dropped off Valliere at the casino and hadn’t seen him after that.

Defense attorney Craig Haukaas asked Carufel if her fiance had a problem with drugs and she said he did.

Lac du Flambeau Police Chief Robert Brandenburg said Oungst had taken him to the body after a previous search had been unsuccessful and Brandenburg spotted it in the snow, with part of a tennis shoe exposed. He said the body was not covered with anything but snow.

The first witness Monday was Jeanette Sharlow, the mother of the victim. She said a birthday party had been held for her son on Nov. 18, a month before he was killed.

She told her son to come over for Christmas brunch. “He said he’d be there,” she said.

She called the tribal police department when her son never showed up.

Chad Verbeten, assistant attorney general, is prosecuting the case with Richard Dufour, another assistant AG and lead prosecutor in the Saxon Bear Trap arson-murder case.

Verbeten said Valliere had been shot nine times. “He never made it to the holidays,” he said.

After the 55-minute drive to the crime scene involving all five suspects, Verbeten said Valliere was crying, “Why?,” as he was being beaten before being shot.

He said the gun was then hidden at the home of Wolfe’s sister.

Cause of death was homicide by gunshot wound, Verbeten said.

Defense attorney James Lex said the jury would hear a lot of different stories around a lot of drug use, and it will be up to them to determine what happened.

Many of the six men and eight women making up the jury had read about the case, but said they believed they could make an impartial decision.

Dufour read off a list of about 50 potential witnesses in the case.

Dufour told potential jurors the case would be about a young man whose body was left in the woods. He said there will be testimony about the autopsy and photos of blood at the scene. He also referred to evidence of animals “injuring” the body.

 
 

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