Suspect in home invasion charged with felony murder, bond set at $250K

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 4:05 PM CST
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PLOVER, Wis. (WSAW) - The 31-year-old man accused of breaking into a Plover home on Feb. 8 has been charged with felony murder and nine other felony counts, including armed robbery.

Prosecutors said Benjamin Smith, 31 and Zachary Deyo, 28, planned an attack and were armed when they broke into the Plover home. Smith was shot three times, according to his attorney; Deyo was shot and killed by someone inside the home.

Smith appeared in court by video Friday for his initial appearance. Bond was also set at $250,000 cash. Portage County Judge Patricia Baker said the seriousness of the allegation warranted a high-cash bond.

“The allegations are a home invasion with a baseball bat and with the intention of stealing money and is described, as Mr. Molespke stated, an “easy lick”, which is deeply concerning to me. The gravity of the offenses that count No. 1 is felony murder... Very few charges are as serious or as grave as felony murder. And I take that into consideration, along with the armed robbery and false imprisonment and the highly assaultive and extremely violent nature of these charges. I also take into consideration the fact that someone, a human being died in this assault. I do believe that a large amount of cash is appropriate in this case,” said Judge Baker.

A felony murder charge is filed when prosecutors say a person died as a result of someone committing a crime.

Portage County District Attorney Louis Molepske said Smith was armed with a baseball bat and his codefendant had a gun.

Smith was taken into custody Thursday following his release from the hospital and transported to the Portage County Jail. Smith’s attorney Jared Redfield said the injuries were life-threatening and when he spoke to his client Smith was not aware his partner died.

“He is seriously injured as I’ve indicated, and he presents no risk of flight,” Redfield said.

Two other males and a female suffered various injuries. Police say the altercation was an isolated incident.

Smith remains the Portage County Jail on $250,000 bond. Time limits were waived by Smith’s attorney to give more time to discuss the case as he said his client is on medications. A preliminary hearing will be held April 5.

Editor’s Note: On Feb. 25 the wrong booking photo was provided to NewsChannel 7. The photo appeared briefly on our website and Facebook page.

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