Man faces homicide charge in Portage shooting death

A McFarland man accused of killing a man in Portage last month was charged in Columbia County court Tuesday.

Online court records show Mario F. Brown Jr., 24, is facing a felony first-degree intentional homicide charge in the Dec. 18 shooting death of Jason Laack, 22, of rural Rio.

Laack was killed around 8 p.m. at the Cattail Lodge on New Pinery Road in Portage. Brown turned himself in to authorities in Madison the day after the shooting.

According to the criminal complaint, Laack’s sister told officers she knew Brown from school and arranged for him to come to her apartment to buy marijuana from her brother.

During the drug transaction, Brown told a man he was with to shoot Laack’s sister’s boyfriend, but when the man fired the gun, it did not go off, according to the criminal complaint. When Brown took the gun and pointed it at the sister’s boyfriend, Laack stepped between the two men.

Laack’s sister told police she and her boyfriend ran into the bathroom and heard gunshots and a struggle, according to the complaint. When they came out of the bathroom Laack was lying on the floor and told them he had been shot.

Brown had an initial appearance Tuesday afternoon and appeared in court via video, according to online court records. Cash bond was set at $100,000 and he was ordered not to have contact with the victim’s family. Conditions of his bond include that he can’t possess weapons, drug paraphernalia and can’t consume or possess controlled substances without a prescription. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Friday at 9 a.m.