Western Wisconsin attempted murder suspect pleads not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect

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Burnett County (WQOW) — A Frederic man charged with attempted murder has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness or defect.

Charles Beenken, 40, is charged in Burnett County with six felonies and three misdemeanors: one count of attempted first degree intentional homicide, two counts of false imprisonment, physical abuse of a child, two counts of felony bail jumping, misdemeanor battery, strangulation and suffocation, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of THC. The state dropped a second attempted murder charge on Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint, a woman called police in December 2018. She said she had just escaped a home where Beenken was choking a 5-year-old boy, who remained in the home.

When police arrived, they found the child crying under a pile of blankets on a bed, bleeding from the head. An officer said when the child saw them he stopped crying, climbed into his arms, held on really tight and put his head on his shoulder. An officer rushed him out of the home, because they weren’t sure where Beenken was at the time. He then drove the boy to a nearby waiting ambulance.

Hospital officials later told police the boy had a broken orbital bone and sinus cavity and was bleeding from his sinus cavity. He also had a hematoma between his skull and brain.

In Burnett County court on Wednesday, Beenken entered not guilty pleas to all charges, citing mental illness or defect.

He remains held on $100,000 cash bond. Beenken’s next court date has yet to be set.

Stephen Kelley

Stephen Kelley

Stephen Kelley joined the News 18 team in August 2006. He is currently the Executive Producer and an Evening Anchor.

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