Vilas County jailers punished for failures in wanted man case - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Vilas County jailers punished for failures in wanted man case


Two Vilas County jailers have resigned and another demoted after they let a wanted man walk away after trying to turn himself in, Sheriff Joe Fath said Friday.

James Lussier, who was wanted in Iron County in the execution slaying of Wayne Valliere Jr. of Lac du Flambeau, tried to turn himself in at the Vilas County Sheriff's Department Feb. 9. Jail staff were unaware of who he was, as he did not identify himself.

Jail staff told a woman with Lussier that he could turn himself into Iron County instead. A sergeant then said they could book him in Vilas County and asked him to have a seat. That's when Lussier, 19, and the woman left the jail, Fath said.

Staff did not identify Lussier, confirm if he had warrants, notify dispatch or notify patrol, Fath said.

Lussier was arrested nine days later in Oshkosh. Four others suspected in the slaying were arrested earlier.

Fath said after an investigation into the staff failures, including a decision to cover up the mistakes, a corrections sergeant and a corrections officer were placed on leave and both have resigned. Another corrections officer has been suspended without pay and demoted.

Two other officers could face punishment as well, the sheriff said.

No names were released. 

"All jail staff have been instructed on the facts of this incident," Fath said in a statement. "Review of corrections officers duties and jail policy concerning receiving inmates at the jail have been completed."

Jail staff are civilians without power to make arrests, the sheriff said.

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