Nearly two years and four months after a rural Chetek man was shot and killed in his bedroom, the case against his murderer has come to a close.
In a hearing on Friday, Jan. 7, 2021, Rice Lake resident Andrew J. Brunette, 26, was sentenced to life in prison for the death of 24-year-old rural Chetek resident Garrett Macone in September 2020, according to Barron County Circuit Court records.
In pronouncing sentence, Circuit Court Judge James C. Babler gave Brunette credit for 474 days already served in jail, and added that he would be eligible for parole in 50 years, when he will be 76 years old.
Brunette will be incarcerated at the state penitentiary at Waupun, Wis., court records said. After the sentence was imposed, Brunette’s attorneys filed a motion that they intend to appeal.
Family members comment
Several victim impact statements were made during the 90-minute sentencing hearing on Jan. 7.
Among the remarks taken from court records:
• Rhonda Anderson, married to Garrett’s cousin, Josh, alleged that “the (defense assertion) that this case was about love is completely inaccurate. This was not about love, this was about anger and greed. Andrew had so many other options to handle this situation differently and, instead, he made the decision to take Garrett’s life and destroy the lives of the families that loved him.”
• Jana Macone, Garrett Macone’s adoptive mother, alleged that Brunette “stalked (her) by coming to our home, posing as a neighbor over the phone, calling from various phone numbers and, when that didn’t give him the results he wanted, he took the matter into his own hands.”
• Audrey Macone, Garrett’s younger sister, wrote that Brunette allegedly “lost control over the situation with his ex-wife and thought the only way to gain back control was by taking Garrett’s life as he slept.”
According to the criminal complaint, Macone had been in a relationship with a married woman who was separated from her husband (Brunette) at the time of the shooting.
Brunette lived in Rice Lake with his parents, the complaint added. Investigators learned he had returned home on the morning of Sept. 20, 2020, to pick up some clothes before returning to a St. Paul hospital where his wife and their child were staying.
Detectives determined that Brunette was in Barron County during the time frame in which the shooting took place.
The complaint said Brunette and his wife returned to Barron County with their child on the afternoon of Sept. 20, and he dropped the woman off at Macone’s home. By that time, the location was an active crime scene, and detectives detained and interviewed Brunette there.
Following his arrest, Brunette allegedly told investigators he drove from the hospital in St. Paul earlier on the morning of Sept. 20 to his home, to pick up clothes.
He also retrieved his 9mm handgun from a gun cabinet, drove to Macone’s residence, found Macone asleep in his room, and allegedly shot him, according to the complaint.
Brunette was jailed after his arrest, pending trial.
On Nov. 4, 2021, a 12-member jury delivered a dual verdict that Brunette had a mental disease or defect when he committed the crime, but that the mental disease/defect did not impair his “capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law.”