In what is described as an unusual case, government officials have requested that the estate of a murder victim help pay for the care of his alleged killer - his autistic son.
A judge is scheduled to hear arguments on Sauk County's claim for $23,452 from the estate of Angelo Crisafulli in early November. In January 2010, the 55-year-old died in his town of Delton home of a gunshot wound to the head.
Authorities charged his then-13-year-old son, Michael Crisafulli, with the first-degree intentional homicide as an adult. But the case was suspended when a judge ruled the boy incompetent to proceed, and the boy - who court records show was autistic - was committed to an institution.
Sauk County was left to pay the cost of that commitment, and the county's attorney later filed a claim with the murder victim's estate that sought to offset the cost of placing the boy in "substitute care" - which can be a foster home, group home, or an institution - at $286 per day.
Records show the estate is worth more than $125,000. The county's claim is for $23,452.
Attorneys for the estate argued the county did not file its claim within the time period set by the court, and that the debt shouldn't fall on the shoulders of the father, who was deceased before the boy was committed.
But the county argued that state law holds a minor's parents and estate liable for the cost of his or her care.
"While it is not entirely normal to ask for money for a claim that arose after a person's death, the statutes allow support and maintenance of the family to be paid for from a responsible party's estate," Sauk County Assistant Corporation Counsel Alene Kleczek Bolin wrote in a legal brief. "This responsibility for care and maintenance does not end at death."
The county also claimed it was not given proper notification that an estate action was pending, even though the estate's representative was at a competency hearing and should have foreseen the potential for a claim.
Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Guy Reynolds ruled that Angelo Crisafulli's estate could be held liable for the cost of his son's care.
"This case presents a number of unusual circumstances, to be sure," Reynolds wrote in an April decision, adding that based on the arguments presented, "the county's position is the correct one."
But Reynolds did not rule on the timeliness of the county's filing.
"That is the issue that has not yet been answered by the court," Kleczek Bolin said, adding that state laws do permit claims to be filed after deadline under certain circumstances.
The Nov. 7 hearing is expected to decide whether the county can proceed with its claim. The county has submitted a list of potential witnesses that include officials from the Sauk County Department of Human Services, Child Protective Services, County Clerk's Office, and the personal representative of the estate.
Send email to email@example.com