Fish bound over to circuit court

L’ANSE – A Wisconsin man is headed to circuit court for his role in an alleged robbery that occurred in Watton last summer.

97th District Court Judge Mark Wisti on Tuesday denied defense attorney David Gemignani’s request to dismiss the case against Bernard Fish, 47, of Shawano, Wis. Instead, he bound the case over for trial in 12th Circuit Court.

Fish’s alleged accomplice, Donavan Waupoose, 21, of Stephenson, is already scheduled for trial Feb. 26, and Baraga County Prosecutor Joseph O’Leary has said he’d like to combine the two trials.

The two defendants each face two counts of armed robbery, a felony punishable by life in prison; two counts of extortion, a 20-year felony; two counts of unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony; and impersonating a police officer to commit a crime, a four-year felony.

The robbery is alleged to have occurred in August at a rural Watton farmhouse, where the alleged victims had planned to begin growing medical marijuana.

In previous testimony, they’ve said that Fish and Waupoose held them at gunpoint claiming to be federal marshals, demanded $10,000 for “bail money,” and eventually took wallets, a phone, the battery from a second phone, a passport, and other documents and identification.

The alleged victims waited about three hours before calling 911. They said they were calling the younger victim’s father and trying to arrange for an attorney prior to calling 911.

Fish and Waupoose are also accused of a second robbery in Long Lake, Wis.

On Tuesday, Gemignani questioned the alleged victims at length about their cell phone use on the day in question, Aug. 1. Both agreed that there were three phones between them at the beginning of the robbery. They said their assailants took one, disabled another but wren’t aware of the third, which they used to make calls afterward.

The alleged victims were unable to definitely remember the phone numbers for some of those phones, or for the younger victim’s father, the main person they said they needed to reach immediately after the incident. However, they said, all those numbers were programmed into the phones. The phone used to make the post incident calls was taken by police for evidence.

Gemignani said phone records from that phone actually showed about ten calls in and out from the remaining phone between the time of the incident and the time of the 911 call.

In a brief closing, he questioned the credibility of the witnesses, stating he felt that “without credibility there’s no probable cause.”

Wisti however, ruled there was probable cause to believe a crime had been committed, and that “credibility will be up to the jury to determine.”