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Local News

Suspect Murders Retired Judge, Gov. Whitmer’s Name on Hit List


Parker Wallis 

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, among others, was named on the hit list of prominent government figures written by a suspect charged with the murder of retired Wisconsin judge John Roehmer, 68. 

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that the victim was found zip-tied and shot to death in his home on Friday, June 3rd after the sheriff’s office received a call about “an armed person and two shots fired in a Township of New Lisbon residence.”

The suspect, 56, was found in the basement of Roehmer’s home with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The firearm was recovered at the scene, and the suspect was taken to a hospital in critical condition, according to the Associated Press. The Wisconsin DOJ later announced the suspect’s death after being declared brain-dead on Saturday morning and taken off life support Tuesday morning. 

“Yesterday, our office was notified by law enforcement officials that Governor Whitmer’s name appeared on the Wisconsin gunman’s list,” said Gov. Whitmer’s deputy chief of staff Zach Pohl in a statement released on Saturday. “While the news reports are deeply troubling,” he said, “we will not comment further on an ongoing criminal investigation.”

In addition to Gov. Whitmer’s name, the list also featured the names of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

“This … does appear to be a targeted act and the individual who is a suspect appears to have had other targets as well,” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced at a news conference. “It appears to be related to the judicial system.”

This is not the first time Gov. Whitmer has been threatened with acts of domestic terrorism. In 2020, four men were charged with conspiring to kidnap the governor. The men, like the suspect of this recent case, were said to be part of a militia, and according to the prosecution of the 2020 case, their plan was ignited by their fervent opposition to pandemic-related restrictions imposed by Whitmer’s office. Their plans, said the prosecution, entailed breaking into Whitmer’s vacation home, taking her to a secondary location, and putting her on “trial” for treason, most likely leading to her execution. The defendants hoped to end the governor’s pandemic mandates and plunge the country into a second civil war, as described by the prosecution. 

In April, two of the four men were acquitted by a federal jury, and the judge declared a mistrial for the remaining two defendants after the jurors were unable to reach a verdict. 

“Governor Whitmer has demonstrated repeatedly that she is tough,” Pohl added in his statement, “and she will not be bullied or intimidated from doing her job and working across the aisle to get things done for the people of Michigan.”