Iowa County jury hears homicide case

DODGEVILLE (WKOW) - An Iowa County jury Monday watched video of an interrogation of a man charged with the intentional killing of his stepfather in 2018.

"It was total self defense," Austin Valdez tells two Iowa County Sheriff's detectives during the video of the March 2018 questioning, days after Valdez fatally shot his 46-year old stepfather, Robin Reeson.

"When he was choking my mom, he was yelling, 'You're not going to do jack (expletive).' He was raging, absolutely out of his (expletive) mind," Valdez told the detectives on the video.

Valdez says his mother, Melanie Reeson and his stepfather were out drinking, returned home separately, and briefly began sex before Robin Reeson stopped and broke an empty, fifty gallon fish tank and started choking his wife. Valdez says he armed himself with a rifle and shot Reeson after Reeson ignored Valdez's command to stop and began climbing stairs toward the then-nineteen year old. "He saw me with the gun," Valdez says during the interrogation. "He saw me without a doubt with the gun."

Last year, Valdez's trial on the charge of first-degree reckless homicide ended in a hung jury. The Iowa County District Attorney's office has been replaced by prosecutors with the Wisconsin Attorney General for this trial and the charge is the more serious, first-degree intentional homicide.

Sheriff's Detective Brian Fitzsimons Monday testified he observed Melanie Reeson's neck days after the incident and shooting to see if there was any sign of injury or bruising from what Valdez said had been the choking. "I didn't see any bruises," Fitzsimons said.

Fitzsimons also testified social media posts by Reeson after the fatal shooting stated she had not been harmed by her husband.

Reeson died last year after the initial trial. Her testimony from that trial is expected to be read to the current jury Tuesday. Her son Valdez has been free since August 2018 after she posted his $50,000 bail.

During the videotaped interrogation, detectives asked Valdez why he did call 911 instead of shooting his stepfather. Valdez said he had "split seconds" to act and feared he and his mother could end up in the hospital if he did not repel Robin Reeson.

On the video, Valdez denied being angry with Reeson, even though he said Reeson nearly broke down his locked, bedroom door over a toliet left running when Reeson first returned home.

Fitzsimons said Valdez had two, loaded guns in his room, and four other firearms in the closet of his bedroom in the family's Ridgeway home. In the interrogation, Valdez maintained the loaded guns were for protection against intruders.

During the 2018 questioning, Valdez said he had gone fishing with Reeson the day before the shooting and also hunted, picked mushrooms and worked on cars with Reeson. "He was a father figure to me," Valdez said during the police interview.

Valdez's trial is expected to go through Friday.

More at WKOW 27 News

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