Robbery suspect headed to trial

L’ANSE – One of the suspects in an August robbery in Watton could stand trial sometime in early 2014.

Donavan Waupoose, 21, of Stephenson, appeared in Baraga County Circuit Court for a pretrial hearing Friday.

Baraga County Prosecutor Joseph O’Leary said he is in negotiations with attorney Aaron Schenk which he said could result in a resolution.

O’Leary also filed a motion to combine the case with that of alleged co-conspirator Bernard Fish. Schenk said he and Waupoose were not interested in combining the cases, although he understands it would be convenient.

“We’ll do whatever we can to move the case effectively and as quickly as possible for my client’s own behalf,” he said.

The trial would take three days, O’Leary and Schenk agreed.

Another pretrial hearing will take place in three to four weeks. Schenk supported placing his client’s case on the trial docket.

“I would anticipate that a trial date would mark probably at least what seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel,” Schenk said. “My client would appreciate that.”

Waupoose and Fish, 47, of Shawano, Wis., allegedly identified themselves as U.S. marshals at a home in Watton Aug. 1. They then demanded $10,000 from the residents, then took wallets, identification and other documents.

Both men fled the scene and were later arrested in their respective hometowns.

Waupoose is charged with two counts of armed robbery, a felony punishable by life imprisonment; two counts of extortion, a 20-year felony; two counts of unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony; and a count of impersonating a police officer to commit a crime, a four-year felony. Fish was arraigned this week in 97th District Court on identical charges.

Waupoose remains lodged in the Baraga County Jail on a $1 million bond. Judge Charles Goodman denied Waupoose’s request to be let out of custody for a day to attend his grandfather’s funeral in Wisconsin. Waupoose would be taken to the funeral by his mother, who would return him to the jail later that night.

Goodman said he would not let Waupoose out because of the nature of the charge and his lack of ties to the area.

“Certainly the loss of a family member is exceeding difficult, and you have my sympathy in that regard,” he said. “However, these are exceedingly serious charges.”