Man convicted of attempted homicide after gentleman's club incident

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Jonah Beleckis | February 23, 2017

ELKHORN—A Walworth County jury convicted a Beloit man Wednesday of attempted homicide, attempted sexual assault and armed robbery after a night at a gentlemen's club last March during which he slit a man's throat and later crashed a vehicle he carjacked.

The group of seven men and five women deliberated for just under three hours to convict Patrick Salzman, 30, on counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, attempted second-degree sexual assault, armed robbery, armed carjacking and OWI.

On March 26, a woman who works for the Show Palace Gentlemen's Club, town of Darien, performed a private dance for Salzman in a VIP area at the club. During the dance, Salzman grabbed at her underwear and told her she was going to have sex with him “whether you (the woman) liked it or not,” Assistant District Attorney Matthew Leusink said.

A male employee said he also saw Salzman grab money from a tip jar. Defense attorney Michelle Anderson questioned this account because Salzman had been paying for dinner and drinks for his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend all night.

When the employee grabbed Salzman's arm, he turned and slit the employee's throat, Leusink said.

Leusink had to prove intent to convict Salzman of first-degree attempted intentional homicide.

“You don't accidentally slit someone's throat,” Leusink said. “You don't have to be a doctor to know there are major blood vessels in the throat.”

Leusink said the wound was “dangerously close” to the carotid artery or the jugular vein, cuts to which could have easily killed the employee.

From there, Salzman approached a man in a car outside the club and told the driver he needed a ride to Beloit, according to testimony. The driver told police he heard the click of a knife opening when Salzman got into his car.

The two started driving away from the club down S and D Townline Road. The driver reported to police Salzman told him he (the driver) was “going to die tonight,” Leusink said.

After the driver exited the car to flee, Salzman took the wheel and kept driving. He later crashed and tested for a 0.26 blood alcohol content, according to testimony.
Anderson did not contest Salzman was intoxicated and drove, saying the jury should find him guilty on the OWI count.

Police who interviewed Salzman after the crash heard him say “I cut his throat,” Leusink said. Salzman also had a knife when police apprehended him.

Although the witnesses who testified differed on some details, their stories were consistent enough to determine Salzman committed the crimes, Leusink said. It is one of the “hallmarks of testimony” when witnesses' accounts line up, especially when they don't know each other, he said.

Anderson countered by saying the differing details mattered. She emphasized how Salzman had clearly identifiable tattoos on his arm that were missing from witness accounts.

Anderson also criticized the lack of DNA testing to confirm the knife Salzman had was used to cut the club employee's throat.

“(Was it) too much work or too costly to try and figure out whether or not we actually even got the knife and to confirm, therefore, we got the right guy?” Anderson asked. “There's no indication that blood was wiped off in any way. There's no blood on the clothes. There's no splatter. There's nothing.”

Leusink said the state did not have to prove Salzman committed the crime with a specific knife. He added costs to his office and for law enforcement sometimes limit what they choose to test.

Salzman will be sentenced at 10:30 a.m. April 20.

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