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JColt 10-25-2020 05:59 PM

Wisconsin man accused of killing man over stolen reptiles
WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin man accused of killing a young man in a dispute over stolen reptiles has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

Bill Zelenski, 44, of Waupaca, is accused of shooting the 18-year-old late Monday. The victim’s name was not immediately released, but the victim’s mother, Tiffany Powell, 34, was charged with first degree intentional homicide as party to a crime.

The dispute was over $27,850 worth of reptiles and equipment, WLUK-TV reported. Waupaca County Judge Ramond Huber ordered Zelenski held without bond. Powell was jailed on a probation hold, but the judge also set a $500,000 cash bond.

According to a criminal complaint, Zelenski called authorities Monday night to identify two young people who he said burglarized his home last week. According to the complaint, several reptiles — including Mexican bearded lizards worth $17,000 — were taken.

Not long after that call, the complaint said, Zelenski and Powell encountered Powell’s son, one of the alleged thieves. The complaint said Powell’s son took off his shirt and said he wanted to fight Zelenski, who took out a shotgun.

A doorbell camera captured most of the altercation, though the complaint doesn’t say whether that included the fatal shot. At one point, the video shows Zelenski handing the gun to Powell, who pointed the gun at her son before eventually giving the gun back to Zelenski, who told a 911 operator that he shot the victim after the young man attacked him.

“He took that boy under his wing,” Crystal Zeske, a longtime friend of Zelenski, told the station. “He was good friends with the boy’s mother. The boy, he took him on jobs. He worked at a tree service with him. He got him other odds and ends jobs in places. I thought they were pretty tight.”


JColt 10-25-2020 06:05 PM

A criminal complaint lists the stolen animals and items as:

1. Alvarez Mexican Bearded Lizards - $17,000

2. Two-foot Nile Crocodile - $2,000

3. Red Tail Boa Constrictor - $575

4. Baby Burmese Pythons - $7,000

5. Bitis Rhinocerous (West African viper) - $875

6. 20 gallon fish tank

7. 10 gallon fish tank

8. Tupperware bins

9. Water dishes - $350

The criminal complaint states some of these reptiles are poisonous and require special handling.

Officers located the stolen reptiles at Todyís home, according to the complaint.

William Zelenskiís wife recovered them on Oct. 20.

Tody charged with stealing reptiles.
Tody charged with stealing reptiles.(Waupaca County Jail)

Tiffany Powell is being held on a $500,000 cash bond. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 27.

William Zelenski was ordered to be held without bond. His next court appearance is Oct. 27.

Separately, Ashton R. Tody has been charged with Burglary, Theft, Criminal Damage to Property and Criminal Trespass related to the theft of the reptiles.

A $1,000 signature bond was ordered for Tody. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 17.

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