A 17-year-old Fox Point boy was charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court Tuesday for allegedly killing his grandfather and prominent residential developer Ronald Siepmann by striking him in the back of the head with an ax Sunday.
Richard Wilson was charged with one count of first-degree intentional homicide for killing Siepmann when the two were alone during a family gathering at Siepmann’s Town of Merton home. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Waukesha County Court Commissioner Martin Binn ordered Wilson held on $2 million cash bail after District Attorney Brad Schimel requested several million be put in place. Wilson’s attorney, Jennifer Dorow, asked Binn to set $500,000 cash bail, but Binn refused to lower it because of the nature of the crime.
“It shocks the conscience of the court,” he said. “There can be no other alternative than $2 million cash bail.”
According to the criminal complaint:
Siepmann's body was discovered by Wilson’s mother at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday lying in a shed on his property after she went looking for him when she couldn’t find Siepmann or her son.
Siepmann and his wife had come home the night before and were planning to celebrate Mother’s Day with their family, and Wilson, his mother and brother had spent the night. Wilson’s mother, Martha, told investigators she got up in the early hours of the morning and found her son pacing and complaining he couldn’t sleep.
Wilson appeared normal later in the morning but she was still concerned. The teen was diagnosed as a schizophrenic in November.
At 11 a.m., Martha Wilson saw her son running up the driveway of the property from the area of the shed and when she asked him where he was coming from, he allegedly responded it was a “good day” and that he had gone for a run.
She then stated she was going to go look for her father with three of her nieces, but Richard Wilson then told the nieces to stay by him because they didn’t want to go up there.
The mother found Siepmann in the shed with a large amount of blood on the floor, and she shouted: “Richard, what did you do?”
He son responded “I stopped the spell at 127 years.”
When she asked him what that meant, he then said: “Schizophrenia. It runs in our family, right mom?”
Siepmann’s wife told investigators there was no such family history.
Binn ordered a mental competency examination of Richard Wilson. It will be discussed at a May 26 hearing.
Schimel said Richard Wilson has no prior criminal record, though there was a prior incident in November, which led to a mental health proceeding. He said Richard Wilson had also stopped taking medication to treat his mental conditions, which led some family members to raise concerns.
He called it a terrible tragedy for the Siepmann through the death of one family member and the loss of another.
“It’s about as bad as a tragedy can get,” Schimel said. “There definitely has been a history of some mental health problems … and it’s a very shocking event.”
Schimel said there are no past instances that led up to the event or disputes between Richard Wilson and Siepmann.
Siepmann, 78, founded Siepmann Realty Corp. in the 1950s and became nationally known for his creative style of development and emphasis on conservation.
The company has numerous residential, commercial and industrial properties in Waukesha County, including the Gateway West industrial development in Brookfield and Dry Creek development in Town of Waukesha.
Binn said Richard Wilson’s younger siblings will be allowed to visit him unless his parents raise concerns. He will not be allowed to contact other family members as he told Waukesha County Jail mental health officials he wished to carry out threats to other members of the Siepmann family.
The Siepmann family issued a statement after Tuesday’s hearing, asking people to respect their privacy during these tough times.
“Ron Siepmann will be remembered as a beloved father, grandfather and friend to many,” the statement says. “Life will not be the same without him and he will be terribly missed. He was the rock of our family and in his spirit, we will continue to be strong and united as a family, as that is what our dad would have wanted.”
Nicolet High School District Administrator Rick Monroe confirmed that Richard Wilson was a student there but would not comment further on the case.
Keely McLeskey, a sophomore at Nicolet, said she was shocked by the news.
"I knew him and he would never seem like the type of guy that would ever do anything like that," she said.
Fox Point resident Katie Millar Bucholtz added: "Surprised is an understatement. I know his mom. She's a wonderful person. I'm beyond shocked and so very saddened for her and her family. My prayers are with the Wilson family."