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Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Alleged kidnapper pleads not guilty in criminal case

Yefferson Guzman Rodriguez is charged with Kidnapping (Wis. Stat. 940.31(1)(c)), False Imprisonment (Wis. Stat. 940.30), 1st Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety (Wis. Stat. 941.30(1)), Substantial Battery (Wis. Stat. 940.19(2)), Strangulation (Wis. Stat. 940.235), Disorderly Conduct (Wis. Stat. 947.01), and Resist/Obstruct Officer (Wis. Stat. 946.41(1)). Unless a judgment of conviction is entered, the defendant is presumed innocent of all charges.

The case of Yefferson Guzman Rodriguez is making its way through the Walworth County Circuit Court. Rodriguez was charged with felony counts of false imprisonment, strangulation and suffocation; and misdemeanors of battery and disorderly conduct after his arrest Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. He was sought in relation to a report of a female that was missing for potentially three days. 

“We received assistance with SWAT and drone resources from local departments almost immediately. That helped us ensure that our response was as safe as possible for both officers and the public,” Whitewater Police Chief Dan Meyer said. 

The victim was found Oct. 15 emerging from a house on South Janesville Street. She told the authorities that Guzman Rodriguez was making threats to use guns to kill her, along with her family, because she had declined his request to be his girlfriend and engage in sexual intercourse. 

The victim knew Rodriguez through friends on Facebook and after two weeks of messaging they met in person. After declining his advances, he became aggressive and threatened her with one of his guns. The victim believed he had an AK-47, an Uzi, a knife and another firearm. 

The day after the victim was found, the suspect was spotted by Officer Andrew Wipperman while looking around West Highland Street, a location where Rodriguez was potentially staying. Rodriguez ran from the officer, passing Lincoln Elementary School. In an on-foot pursuit, officer Ryan Aldrich employed the use of a taser on the suspect and made the arrest.

“We are incredibly grateful for the diligent work of our police force and the technological resources at our disposal, which played a crucial role in resolving this situation efficiently,” City Manager John Weidl said.

Rodriguez was held in Walworth County Jail with a $100,000 cash bond set Oct. 17 and signed Oct. 19. Part of the bond agreement states he is not to possess any firearms, ammunition or other weapons. He is also not allowed to have any contact with the victim. 

Rodriguez was appointed a public defender Oct. 25 with attorney Joshua Ryan-Polczinski chosen to represent him in court. Walworth County Assistant District Attorney Samuel Thomas Berg is the prosecuting agency attorney for the State of Wisconsin. 

Guzman Rodriguez’s initial court appearance was held Oct. 24 when the charges were explained. In a preliminary hearing held Oct. 30 the state called witness patrol officer Andrew Wipperman to the stand. Wipperman was cross examined and identified the defendant in his testimony. The court found probable cause that a felony had been committed and that the defendant likely committed it, binding him over to be assigned to a circuit court judge and to stand trial on the charges. 

An arraignment was held Nov. 27 when the state requested an additional bond condition not to contact another victim in the case. According to circuit court records, counsel for Rodriguez reserved the right for a speedy trial and entered a plea of not guilty. There will be another circuit court hearing for him taking place Feb. 20 at 8:30 a.m. at the Walworth County Judicial Center.

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Dauntae Green
Dauntae Green, Editor

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