A Rice Lake man was sentenced to 16 years in the Wisconsin prison system Thursday, Feb. 13 in Rusk County Circuit Court following guilty verdicts on four domestic abuse charges decided by trial in December.
Robert L. Breeden, 55, appeared in custody in court Thursday to be sentenced on one felony count of second degree recklessly endangering safety with a domestic abuse modifier, one felony count of bail jumping, one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct with a domestic abuse modifier and one misdemeanor count of battery with a domestic abuse modifier.
Breeden was sentenced to the maximum of five years initial confinement and five years extended supervision for the second degree recklessly endangering safety and three years initial confinement and three years extended supervision for the felony bail jumping charge. These sentences were ordered to run consecutive. A sentence of nine months in jail for battery and 30 days in jail for disorderly conduct will run concurrent to his other sentences.
Beginning the sentencing hearing, a victim impact statement was read by the victim who described the terrifying fear, pain and devastation she endured daily as a result of Breeden’s actions.
On Oct. 20, 2016 the victim reported to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office that Breeden had violently woken up the female victim and accused her to have been involved in pornographic videos on the internet. After yelling and calling the victim names, Breeden took a loaded firearm and struck the victim with the butt end of the firearm more than 30 times.
The victim told the court she lives in fear and is afraid to do many of the activities she once enjoyed. Much of her property and belongings were destroyed by Breeden. “He’s done to me most of the things he said he would do, except kill me,” said the victim.
District Attorney Annette Barna asked the court to follow the Department of Justice recommendations outlined in the pre-sentence investigation and to sentence Breeden to a long sentence.
Barna said this was a violent case made against a long time partner. Typical to other domestic abuse cases, it was a long period of grooming, 21 years of abuse that escalated to the incident now being sentenced. Breeden had a history of screwing doors and windows closed so the victim couldn’t leave the home and controlling money and family relationships of his victim. Breeden also shot and killed his victim’s pet rooster and two cats and poisoned her dog.
Looking at Breeden’s character, Barna told the court, “we know the court must look at probation…but some crimes warrant going to prison and not probation.” While never before placed on probation, Breeden’s criminal history does show substance abuse and domestic abuse cases.
Barna told the court she believes Breeden is not rational, deflecting responsibility and blame onto everyone else, including the victim.
Hitting his victim more than 30 times with a loaded firearm was viewed by Breeden as only a verbal argument, according to Barna. The victim provided the court with more than 50 pictures of injuries she sustained from Breeden, injuries as extensive as rib fractures needing doctor attention.
Barna told the court Breeden has rehabilitation needs including mental health issues and alcohol and drugs issues however rehabilitation becomes difficult for violent people who refuse to accept responsibility.
“Probation would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the offense,” said Barna and placing Breeden in a confined environment, like prison, where he can have access to treatment is important, otherwise the victim and public are in danger.
Barna recommended a consecutive sentence of a total of five years incarceration and five years extended supervision between all of his charges.
Breeden’s defense attorney Adrian Longacre encouraged the court to consider probation as a more effective means for Breeden to receive treatment. Longacre opposed the consecutive sentence saying Breeden wouldn’t receive treatment until the last two years of confinement and delay his needed help.
Longacre said the defense would favor the shortest recommended confinement and that the sentences should run concurrent.
Throughout the sentencing hearing, Breeden frequently shook his head, shrugged his shoulders and looked at the ceiling.
Breeden began his statement to the court by saying, “my life has been disrupted by false allegations” and that he’s been the victim since 2016. Breeden scolded the victim, Barna, his attorney and the court for, in his opinion, taking an oath to stop crime but wrongfully sending him away.
Breeden told the court he has been “nothing but good” and that he’s the victim where due process failed.
Rusk County Circuit Court Judge Steven Anderson said the case is very serious because “it’s linked to a pattern of behavior took place over a number of years.” His behavior had a significant and profound impact on his victim, making it even more serious, according to Anderson.
Anderson said he was surprised the pre-sentence investigation did not recommend probation until he saw in the report that Breeden does not take responsibility for his behavior. “You blame the victim, district attorney, me, everyone who has touched your life except you. You are responsible for the trouble you’re in,” said Anderson.
Anderson agreed with Barna saying probation would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the offense, especially in view of the lack of responsibility Breeden takes for his actions.
“Based upon what we just heard from you, the public needs the maximum protection” from Breeden, said Anderson.
Additionally, Breeden was ordered a no contact order with the victim and her family, absolute sobriety, must provide a DNA sample, participate and comply with all recommendations deemed appropriate by the Department of Corrections or the court. Breeden must also pay all court costs.
A restitution hearing is scheduled on March 23 in Rusk County Circuit Court.