The recent death of a 43-year-old New Auburn woman, who was severely injured in June 2012 in an incident of domestic violence, could result in further prosecution, according to local sources.
Stacy Witkowski died Saturday, April 9, more than 3.5 years after she suffered traumatic brain injuries during a June 2012 domestic quarrel at her New Auburn home. The injuries left her near death and in a coma for months, according to Barron County Circuit Court records.
Her assailant and then husband, 31-year-old Troy B. Birkenmeier, is now at the state prison at Waupun, serving the third of a 10-year sentence for “first degree reckless injury.”
He was sentenced in October 2013.
Birkenmeier had been charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, punishable by up to 60 years in prison. The criminal complaint charged that Birkenmeier repeatedly slammed his wife’s head on a wood floor during a quarrel at their home and took a cell phone away from her daughter when she tried to call for help.
But in an August 2012 agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree reckless injury.
Witkowski regained consciousness months after suffering the injuries, according to her father, rural Chetek resident Michael Witkowski. But she required round-the-clock nursing home care ever since that time, he said.
District Attorney Angela Beranek said that she was aware of Witkowski’s death, but declined to be specific about what steps might be taken in the future.
“Our sympathies continue to go out to the Witkowski family at this very difficult time,” Beranek said in an emailed statement on Monday, April 11.
“While, at this time, no decisions about possible new charges have been made, we will continue to work with the family through the decision making process,” Beranek said.
Michael Witkowski said that he had been asked not to discuss the case.
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He said that his daughter was born at Barron, and spent much of her growing up years in the Chetek area, where Michael Witkowski ran the Sunset View Golf Course.
“I took over the course in the 1980s,” he said. “We had lived in Minnesota during the 1970s, including Rochester, New Munich and Melrose, before we came back here. My father bought the course in the 1940s, so the ownership stayed in the family for about 60 years.”
Witkowski said that he visited his daughter every week, and he was in charge of making decisions regarding her care.
He said that after Stacy awoke from her coma at a facility in Osseo, she was transferred to Barron County, where she spent the rest of her life.
A complete obituary appears elsewhere in today’s The Chetek Alert.
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