What We Know: Retired Judge’s Alleged Killer Reportedly Crafted Hit List Of Politicians

The list reportedly included Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Juneau County Wisconsin Judge John Roemer
Screenshot/YouTube, TMJ4 News

A retired Wisconsin judge was killed Friday in what the state’s attorney general said appeared to be a targeted attack. Not long after the attack, reports emerged of a list, seemingly authored by the alleged gunman, of elected officials. Here’s what we know so far. 

What Happened

The slain former Juneau County Circuit Court judge, John Roemer, was found dead in his own home in the township of New Lisbon Friday morning. The township is around 90 minutes northwest of Madison. Roemer had been zip-tied to a chair, unnamed law enforcement sources told NBC News and the Associated Press

The alleged gunman, Douglas K. Uhde, is now in critical condition due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the attorney general said in a statement Saturday. Police received their first call about the shooting around 6:30 a.m., according to several reports, and entered the home a little less than four hours later after unsuccessful negotiation attempts with Uhde.

The List

Soon after the shooting, investigators found a list in Uhde’s vehicle that contained Roemer’s name — as well as the names of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), according to the AP and other outlets that reported on the list, all citing unnamed law enforcement sources. A Whitmer spokesperson acknowledged that her name was “on the Wisconsin gunman’s list.”

The New York Post, citing an unnamed law enforcement source, reported that the list contained 13 names in total. 

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said Friday that “the individual who’s a suspect appears to have had other targets as well, appears to be related to the judicial system.” 

Slain Retired Judge Had Sentenced Alleged Gunman

Roemer had a history with his alleged killer: In 2005, he sentenced Uhde to six years in prison and nine years supervision for the charge of armed burglary with a dangerous weapon. Uhde had pleaded guilty to several charges including carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a short-barreled shotgun rifle and being a felon in possession of a firearm, NBC News reported based on state records.

That was Uhde’s second sentence on the charges: He was initially convicted in 2002 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Uhde appealed his case and an appellate court ruled that he be allowed to withdraw his initial plea of no contest, though the Wisconsin Supreme Court ultimately reversed that decision.

After a successful escape attempt from a minimum security prison — he walked off while on a painting job at the the Baraboo Circus World Museum grounds, the Sentinel reported — Roemer was recaptured and stayed behind locked up until 2020. 

Killer’s Motivations Unclear 

It’s not clear at this point what Uhde’s motivations were. Kaul initially said Friday that information gathered about the killing “indicated that it was a targeted act and that the targeting was based on some sort of court case or court cases.” 

But, aside from Roemer, the names reportedly on Uhde’s list are a strange mix: They include his own governor, a Democrat, but also the Democratic governor of neighboring Wisconsin and the Republican Senate minority leader. 

Whitmer was notably the target of what federal prosecutors have argued was a kidnapping plot — though the only trial in that case so far resulted in two acquittals and two defendants for whom the jury did not reach a verdict. 

“Governor Whitmer has demonstrated repeatedly that she is tough, and she will not be bullied or intimidated from doing her job and working across the aisle to get things done for the people of Michigan,” Whitmer’s deputy chief of staff Zach Pohl said.

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