Cash bail set at $1 million for father accused of stabbing teen daughter to death

MADISON, Wis. — A Madison man accused of stabbing his 13-year-old daughter to death is being held in the Dane County Jail on a cash bail of $1 million.

Travis Christianson is facing charges of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide. The victims are his daughter and wife, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County court Tuesday afternoon.

Officers first responded to a Madison residence for a weapons offense just after 9 p.m. on Thursday. When they arrived, officers approached an injured woman, who identified herself as Christianson’s wife. Officers found stab wounds in her left arm, according to a criminal complaint.

The criminal complaint said the wife told officers that Christianson had woken her earlier that night. He was leaving to get more beer. Rather than driving drunk, the wife went to the store for him. When she returned Christianson approached his wife with a knife, making a jabbing motion, injuring her.

The criminal complaint said the wife fought back against Christianson and asked him about their daughter. He told her, “I already killed her.” His wife was able to wrestle the knife away and run outside. Neighbors heard her screaming for help and called 911.

Police found his daughter, Addrianna Christianson, face down in the bathtub. The criminal complaint said she suffered several wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

While police were tending to the wife, Christianson walked outside toward officers, without listening to instruction. Officers used a Taser on him based on aggressive, homicidal behavior and a potential hostage situation, according to the complaint.

Police took Christianson to the hospital for an evaluation. He refused to give a statement to detectives, the complaint said.

During Christianson’s initial appearance via teleconference Tuesday, the judge said the severity of the allegations called for the $1 million bail.

“I have had a chance to look at the allegations in the criminal complaint,” Judge Jason Hanson said. “Count one alleges literally the most serious offense that is known to Wisconsin law. Count two alleges an attempt to commit that same offense against a second individual. It is an extraordinarily serious case. I don’t see an amount less than what the state has requested is appropriate to appearance in court given the severity of all of this.”

Christianson was a custodian at Glacier Edge Elementary School in the Verona Area School District. A spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that Christianson was placed on administrative leave.

Addrianna Christianson was an incoming eighth-grader at Savanna Oaks Middle School in the Verona Area School District.

“We are all shocked and saddened by the loss of Addrianna. She will be greatly missed by her peers and teachers. We send our deepest sympathies to her family and friends who loved her,” spokeswoman Raechelle Belli said in an email.

The district is making counseling services available for anyone who may have been impacted, as well as tips on how to respond to children struggling with the loss.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled in the case at 8 a.m. on Aug. 28.