Local News

Mount Horeb man charged with homicide in bat attack

Suspect being held on $1 million bail

MADISON, Wis. - A man accused of beating a Fitchburg man with a baseball bat in Mount Horeb has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide after the victim died over the weekend.

Koalton Peterson, 18, of Mount Horeb, was charged Monday in Dane County Circuit Court. He is being held on $1 million bail.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office said 20-year-old Ryan M. Smith died Saturday morning at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.

Smith suffered skull fractures and lung injuries in the beating early last Tuesday.

Peterson has claimed self-defense.

Dane County sheriff's detectives obtained information that shows that before the incident, the two men had been exchanging text messages over the sale of marijuana from Peterson to Ryan, according to a Dane County Sheriff's Office news release.

Those text messages became argumentative when Peterson told Ryan that he would not provide him with the drugs that night, sheriff's officials said.

Shortly after midnight on Nov. 27, Smith and a female friend arrived at 407 Oak Valley Road in Mount Horeb, where Peterson was staying with a friend, sheriff's officials said.

Peterson met Ryan outside the residence armed with a baseball bat, which he used to beat Ryan, according to the release.

The Smith's female friend called 911, and Peterson fled through the back of the house, sheriff's officials said.

A Mount Horeb police officer responded to the scene at 12:21 a.m., and found Smith lying in the street unresponsive. The officer performed lifesaving efforts on Ryan until he was transported by Med Flight to UW Hospital.

Dane County sheriff's deputies also responded to the scene and at about 1:15 a.m., a deputy made contact and detained Peterson near the intersection of Park Street and Third Street in Mount Horeb. That same deputy recovered the baseball bat, which Peterson had discarded on the property behind 407 Oak Valley Road, according to sheriff's officials.

Sheriff officials said the case remains an open investigation and detectives are continuing to compile evidence in the case. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call the Dane County tip line at 608-284-6900. Callers may remain anonymous.

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