Tuesday, March 21

Alleged gunman in shooting of Wisconsin judge had been sentenced by him in 2005

A retired Juneau County judge who was gunned down in his home Friday morning had sentenced his alleged killer to six years in prison for armed burglary and other weapons charges in 2005, online court records show.

Douglas K. Uhde, 56, shot and killed John Roemer, 68, after entering the judge’s home in the town of Lisbon around 6:30 a.m., the state Department of Justice said in a statement Saturday. 

Douglas K. Uhde


Law enforcement officers tried to negotiate with Uhde before entering the residence around 10:15 a.m., the DOJ said. In the home, they found Roemer dead and zip-tied to a chair and Uhde in the basement with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. 

Uhde was taken to the hospital and remains in critical condition, the DOJ said.

Investigators have said Uhde planned to target other government officials and found a list in his vehicle that included Roemer, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, said the official who was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation publicly.

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The 56-year-old has an extensive criminal and prison record spanning at least two decades. 

In 2005, Uhde was convicted in Adams County Circuit Court of burglary while armed and other weapons offenses, including possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle.

Roemer was not the judge at the time the case was initially tried in 2002 but did preside over the withdrawal of Uhde’s no contest plea and subsequent reconviction after a court of appeals reversed his earlier conviction, sentencing him to six years in prison and nine years of extended supervision.

Uhde has later convictions for escape/criminal arrest, fleeing an officer, driving a stolen vehicle and obstructing police.

Appeals filed by Douglas K. Uhde, who police say shot and killed retired Juneau County Circuit Court Judge John Roemer in his home Friday morn…

His 2005 conviction came at the end of a lengthy series of court fights in the case, which began with an incident in August 2001. After pleading no contest in 2002, Uhde pursued an appeal and succeeded in withdrawing his plea, according to online court records.

After his attorney withdrew from the case, Uhde appears to have represented himself, was reconvicted and appealed again.

For his subsequent offenses, Uhde was sentenced — by other judges — first to 9 months in jail for the escape in 2007, and then seven years in prison and four years of extended supervision for fleeing police and driving a vehicle without the owner’s permission in 2008.

According to court records, the escape conviction came after Uhde walked away from a job site in Baraboo while an inmate at the Fox Lake Correctional Institution. He pleaded no contest in Dodge County and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He appealed the conviction because the job site was in Sauk County, but the appeal was denied.

After Uhde escaped, a truck owned by Easter Seals was reported stolen in Wisconsin Dells. Rome police found a salt spreader and other items that had been in the truck 10 days later.

Uhde’s former girlfriend told police she was afraid Uhde might come to her house. She received three phones calls from him the next day, according to court records. Uhde told her he was driving a newer pickup truck. Police tracked the call to a pay phone and put the truck under surveillance.

Two days later, a woman spotted Uhde standing in his ex-girlfiend’s yard. Later that night, police saw a truck fitting the description of the one Uhde was driving outside the ex-girlfriend’s home and where she worked.

When police got closer, the truck drove away. Following a high-speed chase, Uhde drove the truck into a ditch and field, causing it to burst into flames. Officers found Uhde hiding near a log after he was tracked by a police K9.

Records show Uhde was released on community supervision in 2015, but was returned to prison in 2019. He was released from prison on April 14, 2020, and was under community supervision at the time of the shooting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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