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Man in court after killing neighbor, shooting himself in February

Complaint: Daniel Bellard admitted to killing his neighbor

JANESVILLE, Wis. - For the first time since the February, shooting an elderly Rock County man is formerly charged in the death of his neighbor.

Daniel Bellard, 75, of Beloit, appeared before a Rock County Judge on Tuesday via video conference from the Rock County Jail.

Until last week, Bellard was in a Madison hospital recovering from two self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

"We were waiting to proceed until his medical condition was stable enough and we could take him into custody without having to undergo the expense of multiple surgeries," said Rock County District Attorney David O'Leary.

According to the criminal complaint, Bellard admitted he shot Christine Gestrich because he was concerned she'd take his land as his family prepared to sell his home.

Investigators said Gestrich came to pick up some antiques from Bellards barn in the Town of Plymouth about 12 miles southwest of Janesville.

"I'm pleased for the family that we can at least begin the process of getting some closure. Obviously the families live next to each other and will have to deal with the consequences of these actions for the rest of their lives," said O'Leary.

"We sent a transport van to pick him up in Madison," said Capt. Brent De Remer with the Rock County Sheriff's Office. "Now that Bellard's in our care everything is on us as to his medical costs."

According to the sheriff's office, the five months deputies spent guarding Bellard's hospital room in Madison totaled more than $78,000 in overtime costs.

"It's been three shifts, 24/7 guard duty for our deputy sheriffs. We've been very fortunate the Dane County sheriff and the city of Janesville have assisted with that to defer some of the cost," said De Remer.

Even though the jail recently added a medical unit, the sheriff's office costs for housing Bellard will continue to rise.

Complaint: Daniel Bellard admitted to killing his neighbor

"Some of that equipment had to be brought in. It had to be rented to take care of him. The additional nursing staff to take care of him, we've added on for that so there will be some additional costs," said De Remer.

Bellard will undergo a competency exam to determine his state of mind when he allegedly shot and killed his neighbor.

"We have to have a determination from the doctors at Mendota to see if he is competent to understand the proceedings even to begin our case," said O'leary.

The competency exam is scheduled for the next 15 to 30 days. The results will be discussed at his next court appearance scheduled for later in July.

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