Three men accused of trying to dig up a young woman's body to have sex with it had charges of attempted sexual assault dismissed Friday by a judge who noted Wisconsin has no law against necrophilia.
Grant County Circuit Judge George Curry dismissed those charges against twins Nicholas and Alexander Grunke of Ridgeway and Dustin Radke of Mineral Point, but they still face lesser charges.
The three 20-year-olds were arrested after an alleged attempt to dig up Laura Tennessen, 20, of Cassville, who was killed Aug. 27 in a motorcycle crash and buried at the St. Charles Catholic Cemetery in Cassville.
Grant County Sheriff Keith Govier said the three were not acquainted with Tennessen but had seen an obituary with her photo.
Someone called authorities to report suspicious activity in the cemetery Sept. 2, and deputies found someone had dug down to her vault.
Police said that Radke told detectives that Nicholas Grunke (pictured left) had fantasized about having sex with a corpse. Radke (pictured right) allegedly said that Nicholas Grunke asked him to help dig up Tennessen's grave and take the corpse back to a preselected location behind his house with the intent to have sex with her, WISC-TV reported.
The judge said there's no Wisconsin law that addressed necrophilia, but that there is enough evidence to continue the case because of criminal damage to property and attempting to break into a burial vault, whose contents belongs to the Tennessen family.
The remaining charges could carry prison terms of up to five years. The defendants are all free on bail pending trial, WISC-TV reported.
The judge scheduled arraignment for the three Oct. 9.
As for members of Laura Tennessen's family, they said that they don't think time behind bars is the answer.
The prosecutor said that he'll appeal the judge's decision to drop the sexual assault charges to the state's appellate court.
Grant County Sheriff Keith Govier said that he will now push to get necrophilia on the books, WISC-TV reported.
"The community is in shock," Govier said.
Earlier this month, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, said that he was contacted by Govier after the men's arrest. Schultz said that he was surprised to learn only 16 states have necrophilia laws, and Wisconsin isn't one of them.
"(The family's) closure comes from knowing that their daughter will be able to rest in peace and knowing that they have made a contribution in her name so this never happens again," Schultz said.
In related news, the man who was driving the motorcycle when Tennessen was killed has now been charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.
Police said that Thomas Sweet was driving his motorcycle on Highway 133 in Cassville when Tennessen was thrown from it, WISC-TV reported.
- September 7, 2006: Senate Leader Seeks Stronger Law After Alleged Grave-Robbing Incident
- September 6, 2006: 3 Men Charged With Attempted Sex Assault On Corpse
- September 5, 2006: 3 Men Could Face Charges For Allegedly Digging Up Grave
- September 4, 2006: Alleged Grave Robbers Caught In Act
- September 3, 2006: Grave Robbers Arrested