Sauk County murder suspect reportedly in custody

UDPATE: WIBA News has learned that Robert Pulvermacher has been taken into custody. No other details have been released. 


BARABOO (WKOW) – An 88-year old Portage man was fatally stabbed outside a casino in Baraboo, with the suspect returning to the casino for several hours after the attack, according to a recently filed criminal complaint.

The Sauk County complaint charges 68-year old Robert Pulvermacher of Middleton with first degree intentional homicide in the death of Harold Johnson of Portage.

Authorities are searching for Pulvermacher.

The complaint states one of Johnson’s family members told police Johnson lent Pulvermacher $100 at the Ho Chunk Casino on Jan. 11.  The complaint says casino surveillance video shows the two men walking together at the casino Jan. 13.  According to the complaint, Johnson’s family member says Johnson returned to the casino to collect on the debt.

The complaint says video shows the two men getting into Johnson’s car and driving to another parking lot stall.  The complaint states the video shows Pulvermacher stepping outside the car and smoking, and then getting back inside, with a large plume of smoke escaping from the car’s tailpipe a short time later. The complaint says Pulvermacher left the car six minutes later and returned to the casino.  The complaint states Johnson’s bloodied body was found inside the car the next day, with video showing no one else entered the car after Pulvermacher’s exit.

According to the complaint, a UW Hospital pathologist states Johnson was stabbed five times, with two lethal wounds to neck.  The complaint states Johnson was stabbed from back to front.  “The instrument used was likely a single side knife,” Dr. Robert Corliss states.

The complaint says a man who was briefly identified as a person-of-interest met Pulvermacher as they gambled inside the casino in the hours after the attack, and gave Pulvermacher a ride to Madison in exchange for four, $25 gambling chips.

The complaint says Pulvermacher was last seen Jan. 15 on the surveillance video of a hotel on Madison’s east side.

Pulvermacher’s Middleton landlord, Kathy Acker tells 27 News she’s shocked over Pulvermacher’s alleged actions.  Pulvermacher is on probation and has a criminal record for offenses including burglary and escape, but Acker says she’s never been afraid of him. She says Pulvermacher landscaped her rural property in exchange for discounted rent.  But Acker tells 27 News her last conversation with the 68-year old, unemployed man with a recent history of health problems involved his unpaid rent.

“I said, ‘Bobby, what do you plan on doing here, you owe us back rent,’ ” Acker says.  “I said to him ‘The good Lord gives everybody several chances and I think maybe you’re on your last one.’ ”

 More on this story at WKOW 27 News

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