Jetrin Rodthong was arrested, yet again, in September on serious felony charges but the Milwaukee County DA refused to prosecute – even though Rodthong had three other pending cases.
Jetrin Rodthong, the man suspected of shooting a Milwaukee police officer near N. 21st St. and St. Paul Ave. on Thursday night, was wanted on a bench warrant in three open Milwaukee County felony cases that were filed in 2020 but dragged on and on in the backlogged Milwaukee County court system.
He was released in those cases on a signature bond, $300 cash bail, and then $3,000 cash bail, court records show.
In addition, Rodthong was arrested by Wauwatosa police on felony charges on Sept. 23, 2021, according to state Department of Justice records. However the charges – felony bail jumping, misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon, and felony methamphetamine possession – were not prosecuted by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office in a decision that came down four days later, the records show. (We have previously written about Milwaukee DA John Chisholm’s high no-prosecution rate, and we have a pending open records complaint against his office for withholding names of people the office won’t prosecute.)
However, three other cases were charged in 2020. The constant delays – because of “calendar congestion,” COVID policies, defense attorney requests, and other reasons – meant that Rodthong remained on the street to allegedly re-offend. And re-offend again. By the time he encountered the MPD officer near N. 21st St. and St. Paul on Jan. 27, 2022, he had three open felony cases with multiple charges. They include felony bail jumping charges.
Yet he remained on the street with almost deadly consequences to a Milwaukee police officer, sources say.
It’s the third time in two weeks that a Milwaukee area law enforcement officer was shot multiple times; the other two – an off-duty Milwaukee police detective and Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputy – also survived their wounds. The man accused of shooting the detective was out on $1,000 bail for another serious felony case.
It’s part of a concerning pattern that is imperiling lives. The Milwaukee County Court system has a two-year backlog in felony cases driven in part by officials’ decisions to keep some courts closed for in-person jury trials. In case after case, accused criminals are released on low bail amounts and given plenty of time to re-offend because their cases don’t proceed to sentencing in a timely manner, in some cases despite speedy trial requests. The low bail amounts given to Waukesha parade suspect Darrell Brooks in two Milwaukee County cases made national news.
Multiple sources told Wisconsin Right Now that Jetrin Rodthong is the suspect in the shooting of the officer, who was shot three times but is in stable condition and expected to survive. Jetrin Rodthong allegedly stole the officer’s squad and then crashed it; he shot the officer three times and the officer shot him in return, sources say. It all started as a welfare check involving a vehicle, they say.
Chief Jeffrey Norman said in a news conference that, at 6:27 p.m. on Jan. 27, 2022, a Milwaukee police officer was dispatched to a sick or injured person in the 2100 block of W. St. Paul Ave. There was an individual slumped in the vehicle. Upon arrival, the individual slumped in the vehicle appeared to flee and brandished a firearm. The officer and suspect exchanged gunfire. Both were struck.
After the exchange of gunfire, the suspect entered the squad car and fled, crashing into another motorist in the 1700 block of West Clybourn St. and fled on foot, Norman said. The suspect was later apprehended. His gun was recovered inside the officer’s squad car. The driver of the other vehicle was treated for non-fatal injuries. The suspect is a 22-year-old male who sustained non-fatal injuries and was taken to a local hospital, according to Norman.
The officer is 26 with over seven years of service. He suffered non-fatal injuries. Criminal charges will be referred in the upcoming days. Community members stopped and remained on the scene to help the wounded officer, said Norman.
Jetrin Rodthong, 22, has an address on the south side of Milwaukee.
Jetrin Rodthong’s Criminal Record
According to court records:
His first open felony case was filed on March 19, 2020. He was charged with felony fleeing an officer. The issuing agency was the Milwaukee Police Department.
On March 19, 2020, Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Rosa M. Barillas gave Jetrin Rodthong a $500 signature bond.
A preliminary hearing was adjourned on May 19, 2020. “Due to Chief Judge’s Directive regarding COVID-19, Court finds good CAUSE to adjourn preliminary hearing,” court records say.
The same thing happened on June 29, 2020.
On Aug. 20, 2020, the preliminary hearing was adjourned when Jetrin Rodthong didn’t show up for court. A bench warrant was issued but stayed until the next court date. On Sept. 10, 2020, the case was adjourned due to “calendar congestion.” Later that month, he waived the preliminary hearing.
There were various scheduling conferences throughout October and November 2020. Court hearings were rescheduled and adjourned for various reasons through February and April 2021.
There was talk of a plea but by May 2021, the defense raised concern about moving ahead with it.
By August 2021, the defense requested jury trial dates.
On Oct. 5, 2021, Jetrin Rodthong didn’t show for court and a bench warrant was issued but stayed.
Three days later, he didn’t show again and Judge Danielle Shelton issued a bench warrant.
The second felony case was filed on Aug. 7, 2020.
In that case, Rodthong was charged with felony operating a vehicle without owner’s consent, felony bail jumping, and misdemeanor resisting an officer.
Court Commissioner Alexis Liggins gave him $300 cash bail.
He posted bail on Aug. 17, 2020.
There was a Justice Point violation report filed on Aug. 21, 2020.
On Sept. 10, 2020, the case was adjourned due to “calendar congestion.”
On Sept. 24, 2020, he appeared by Zoom. There were other adjourned hearings and scheduling conferences throughout October, November, and December 2020.
The defense attorney advised that resolution was likely but then said there was cause of concern to move ahead with a change of plea. By August 2021, the defense attorney, William Rakestraw, was requesting jury trial dates.
On Oct. 5 and 8, 2021, he didn’t appear. By Oct. 11, a bench warrant was issued.
He was charged with the third felony case on Aug. 25, 2020. Those charges were two counts of felony bail jumping, felony possession of narcotic drugs, fleeing an officer causing damage to property, and drive or operate a vehicle without owner’s consent.
In that case, Court Commissioner Alexis Liggins gave him $3,000 cash bail.
The preliminary hearing was adjourned for this case on Sept. 10, 2020 due to calendar congestion.
At times the defense asked for a projected guilty plea hearing or was unavailable. He advised resolution was likely, and then raised concern about changing the plea.
Rodthong posted bail on June 23, 2021.
Status conferences ensued, and the defense requested jury trial dates.
A bench warrant was issued in this case too on Oct. 11, 2021.
His only other case in CCAP is a hospital lien for more than $31,000.
His arrest record, according to state Department of Justice records is as follows:
2019: Possession of drug paraphernalia, West Allis, non-criminal
2019: Milwaukee Police Department, misdemeanor operating vehicle without owner’s consent; Misdemeanor resisting, felony possession of narcotic drugs. They are all listed as “no prosecution.”
2019: Forgery-uttering, West Allis, felony. Disposition not listed.
2020: Milwaukee police. Felony drive or operate a vehicle without owner’s consent, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, a felony; flee an officer (felony); possession of methamphetamine (felony). All of the charges were not prosecuted except for the fleeing an officer charge.
2020: Milwaukee police. Driving vehicle without consent (felony); possession of burglarious tools (felony); resisting an officer (misdemeanor); driver vehicle without owner’s consent (felony) and fleeing an officer (felony). The possession of burglarious tools charge was not prosecuted.
2020; Milwaukee police. Felony fleeing; felony bail jumping (2 counts); operating vehicle without owner’s consent, possession of narcotics drugs. The charges were issued.
The Wauwatosa arrest that wasn’t prosecuted.