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Wisconsin appeals court upholds conviction of 20-year-old in death of younger cousin

Posted at 12:01 PM, Mar 14, 2024

GREEN BAY (AP) — The Wisconsin Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the reckless homicide conviction of a 20-year-old in the 2018 death of his younger cousin.

Damian Hauschultz of Mishicot was 14 when his 7-year-old cousin Ethan Hauschultz was beaten, forced to carry a 44-pound log and buried in the snow as punishment at their Manitowoc County home. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office determined Ethan died from hypothermia and blunt force injuries to his head, chest and abdomen.

In 2021, a judge sentenced Damian Hauschultz to 20 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision.

Hauschultz appealed his guilty plea, arguing the court should not have denied his motion to suppress statements he made to authorities that he claimed were made without knowledge of his Miranda rights. He also argued his statements were involuntary because he was a minor at the time.

The court disagreed and upheld his conviction Wednesday.

Damian Hauschultz's parents were Ethan's court-appointed guardians.

His mother, Tina McKeever-Hauschultz, served a five-year prison term for her role in the events leading up to the boy's death and failing to prevent it. She was released to extended supervision in January.

Another adult in the family is awaiting trial on multiple counts including felony murder and child abuse for allegedly ordering the punishment.