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Suspect in UW-Madison brutal attack has Milwaukee ties

Brandon Thompson, 26, graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a degree in Criminal Justice Administration and a minor in Psychology.
Brandon Thompson
Posted at 9:55 PM, Sep 06, 2023

MADISON, Wis. — The man accused of brutally attacking a UW-Madison student graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2019.

Brandon Thompson
Brandon Thompson in court in Madison.

According to his attorney, Thompson graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a degree in Criminal Justice Administration and a minor in Psychology. Thompson’s name is listed in the December 15, 2019 commencement list on UW-Milwaukee’s website.

UW-Milwaukee 2019 commencement list
Thompson is listed as a graduate of the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare in the December 2019 commencement.

His attorney said Thompson graduated from Oregon High School and his family has strong ties to the Madison Community. Thompson currently works for a biotech company in the Madison area and his father is an Army veteran who worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Photos of Brandon Thompson
Brandon Thompson's attorney provided these photos of him to TMJ4 News. TMJ4 News has a policy against using mugshots of suspects of crimes.

Now, he’s awaiting charges for first-degree sexual assault, first-degree reckless injury, and strangulation, after a woman was found naked and bloody behind a home in Madison early Sunday morning.

While police are holding back details from the attack, radio traffic paints a disturbing picture.

“Behind the house, a naked female covered in blood.”

“We’re in contact with her. She’s beaten up pretty good. She’s not really conscious.”

“This case will not be complete until this cowardly attacker receives the justice he deserves,” Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Barnes announced law enforcement arrested Thompson early Wednesday morning. He credited collaboration between law enforcement agencies, a variety of video, and community tips to the apprehension of Thompson.

Sunday morning, about two hours before the victim was found, police say Thompson was pulled over by Fitchburg Police for a registration violation. Investigators matched Thompson’s clothing in those officers’ body camera footage to surveillance videos in Madison later that night.

“Clothing worn by Thompson matches several public space cameras which caught him walking on foot behind our victim just prior to the assault,” Barnes said.

Additionally, Barnes says Thompson remained at the scene of the crime and spoke to a witness.

“Our investigation revealed Thompson was at the scene of the crime as evidenced by witnesses during our initial canvass,” Barnes said. “Thompson told this witness he had just found our survivor, pretending to be an innocent bystander. We now know, he refused to stay on scene and immediately left in his vehicle parked nearby.”

The woman is expected to survive but is still in critical condition.

“Her life is forever changed,” Assistant Chief Paige Valenta of the Madison Police Department said. “Her family’s life is forever changed. We will continue to work hard to ensure that Mr. Thompson is held fully accountable in a court of law for the heinous act he perpetrated.”

Valenta says in addition to the video evidence investigators collected, there is a variety of biological evidence.

“It’s fair to say this investigation is still closer to the beginning than its end,” Valenta said. “We certainly intend to and have submitted evidence to a crime lab of the biological realm.”

Valenta did not provide an estimate for when the results from the biological evidence will be finished.

A search of Thompson’s background found nothing but a couple of speeding tickets. The lack of a criminal history is something Chief Barnes said, raises even more questions.

“From my experience, that’s always a very big part of the investigation,” Barnes said. “Usually, there may be something this person may be hiding, something in personal or past life that we may need to know.”

Charges are expected to be filed against Thompson on Thursday.