The state has dropped its attempted murder case against Daniel Wildman to allow the filing of federal charges that could result in a stiffer penalty.
Winneshiek County Attorney Andy Van Der Maaten filed a motion to dismiss the case Friday afternoon in Winneshiek County District Court, which was granted by Judge John Bauercamper Monday morning. Wildman's trial had been scheduled to start Wednesday.
In his motion, Van Der Maaten said the U.S. District Attorney's office has charged Wildman with violations of federal law connected to the same incident which resulted in the attempted murder charges. The county attorney said the state is willing to defer to the federal case.
"To avoid any issue related to double jeopardy, the state has determined that dismissal of the pending charges is necessary. In the interest of justice, the charges pending in this case should be dismissed," Van Der Maaten wrote.
The federal charges could ultimately result in a longer period of incarceration, according to the county attorney.
"We felt the federal charges were appropriate under the facts of the case, and that the penalties that go with those charges fit the crimes that were committed," Van Der Maaten told Decorah Newspapers.
Federal authorities are expected to issue a statement once their charges are formally filed.
Wildman, 23, has been incarcerated at the Winneshiek County jail since last fall on three counts of attempted murder for discharging his 12-guage shotgun at Cory Numedahl of Calmar, Andrew Massman of West Union and David Cheney of Calmar as they were exiting their vehicle in Calmar early Oct. 16. The incident resulted in area schools being in lock down for most of the school day while law enforcement searched for Wildman.
In depositions, Numedahl and Massman said they didn't believe Wildman was trying to shoot them. Massman said Wildman is a "good shot and usually gets what he aims for. I've never seen him miss."
In addition to the three counts of attempted murder, Wildman was charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the October shooting, which occurred a block away from the South Winneshiek High School.
After the shooting, Wildman's vehicle was tracked to a farm on the edge of Ossian, where he fled on an all-terrain vehicle. He eventually was apprehended in a cornfield a few miles east of Ossian. He was originally jailed on arrest warrants from Howard County for possession of a firearm as a felon, delivery of a controlled substance and a probation violation.
During questioning following his arrest, Wildman eventually admitted he had been in Calmar the morning of Oct. 16 and had fired a gun in the air to "scare" some people, not to harm anyone, according to court records.
Following a hearing on a defense motion to suppress evidence, Judge John Bauercamper ruled Wildman's confession would be inadmissible at trial because his constitutional right to counsel was "subverted by the deceptive interrogation tactics used by the officers in the case." Officers told the defendant they had his cell phone, which was untrue. That misrepresentation ultimately caused Wildman to waive his right to counsel, the judge ruled.
A Department of Criminal Investigation lab analysis of Wildman's urine sample after his arrest showed the presence of oxycodone and oxymorphone.
Wildman's attorney, Mark Anderson of Cresco, had given notice he would rely on a "defense of intoxication by drugs" strategy.
Wildman was transferred to the custody of federal authorities Monday and will be held until his case can be prosecuted in Federal District Court in Cedar Rapids.