Since 2019, Gov. Tony Evers’ Parole Commission has released hundreds of convicted criminals, freeing them early on parole mostly into Wisconsin communities, including more than 300 murderers and attempted murderers, and more than 47 child rapists.
Carl Beletsky was one of them.
Evers, who appointed the Parole Commission chair who freed the killers and rapists, reappointed the chair AFTER the Beletsky parole, saying he was “pleased” to do so. The victim’s sister is outraged by the discretionary parole and says the family was not notified by the parole hearing, which is a function of Evers’ Department of Corrections.
“It was sneaky,” Kathleen’s sister Jeanine Peters says of the parole. “No, I got nothing. I got nothing. I think it was done underhandedly, under the radar.” Read her comments here.
8th in the series.
The crime defies words.
According to an Associated Press story from the time, Carl Beletsky, then 39, an air conditioning salesman who lived in Oconomowoc, “admitted dumping his young wife’s decapitated corpse in a cornfield and trying to destroy the remains of her head in a wood-burning stove.”
In 1983, Beletsky was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide.
Beletsky testified that he beheaded Kathleen, his 26-year-old wife, “after she was shot in the head during a struggle with a pistol.”
She wanted to leave him for another man, and he claimed he was initially going to kill himself.
The details are beyond horrific. According to the AP, Beletsky “said he used a large kitchen knife to remove her head.”
He told jurors he “didn’t want anybody to see her the way she was. She was such a beautiful person.”
She was “decapitated in one stroke,” pathologists testified. Teeth and skull fragments were found in the stove. Her body was discovered in an Oconomowoc cornfield.
We spoke with Kathleen’s son, Austin Tinus, who helps run Tinus Marine of Oconomowoc. He said that he doesn’t believe he personally received any notice of the parole hearing or parole from the government. The family opposed the release, he said, but they were disregarded. Peters learned of the parole and told him, but she told us that she also was not informed of the parole hearing, which she would have attended to object, had she known. State law says the Department of Corrections must make a reasonable effort to notify families. DOC is under Evers’ direct control.
“No one was for it,” he said of the release.
Tinus believes that Beletsky should not have been paroled.
“It should have been life is life,” he said. “This discredits the justice system. You could write letters for awhile, but it wasn’t helping.” He was only 4 years old when his mom died, but he said that he has had a good life and was raised by his dad’s wife.
Peters disputes old newspaper articles that said Kathleen Beletsky was shot before her head was cut off. She believes that she was bludgeoned or had her throat cut. “And then he cut her head off and threw it in a stove in the basement,” she said.
For a time, Peters received a parole hearing letter every three months. Then, some time passed, and she started to wonder why she hadn’t gotten one lately, she said. She called the Parole Commission to ask.
“The woman said, ‘Don’t you know? He’s been out.’ I thought, ‘OK, it would be nice to know that,’” said Peters.
“I never expected him to see the light of day – I mean, what?” Peters said, outraged. “Don’t get it. I don’t get it. Why should he be out? He got life. I don’t get it. I really don’t get it.”
Evers’ Parole Commission Freed Carl Beletsky Early
Date paroled: 08/20/2019 [You can run Carl Beletsky’s parole date yourself in the state Department of Corrections database here. Click on “movement” after entering his name.]
The released killer now lives: Hatley, WI, in Marathon County, near Wausau
Convicted: First-degree intentional homicide
Sentence: Life sentence. Because he received a life sentence, Beletsky did not qualify for mandatory release. Gov. Evers appointed and then reappointed the man who released Beletsky, John Tate, after Beletsky was freed, saying he was pleased to do so.
The Victim: Kathleen A. Beletsky, 26
She was a branch bank manager who lived in Stone Bank, Wisconsin, in Waukesha County. Peters described Kathleen’s sense of humor. “Wherever she was, you’d laugh,” she said.
What the Killer Did:
Beletsky claimed he shot Kathleen in an accident but Prosecutor James R. Kieffer said Beletsky lied on the stand, calling it a “concocted tale.” Kieffer said that Beletsky was worried about losing his “lifestyle” in the “fast lane” in a divorce, news articles from the time say.
A story in the Marshfield News-Herald from the time says that “the charred remains of a human skull were found in the stove.”
After the murder, Beletsky drank alcohol and bought cigarettes.
A friend described Beletsky as a “ladies’ man.”
Kathleen was his third wife. She was operations manager at the Bayside branch of the First Wisconsin Bank. The homicide left friends shocked.
Beletsky took his wife’s body to the cornfield in a trunk. Then, he threw the .32 caliber revolver into Okauchee Lake.
According to an old story in the Stevens Point Journal, Kathleen’s “headless, partially clad body was found in a farm field.”
The wood-burning stone was located in the basement of the family home in Stone Bank. Marital “discord” was described as a motive for the homicide.
Then Waukesha County DA Jerome Cahill told the AP at the time that Kathleen was “preparing to see her attorney within 24 hours of the time she was killed.”
Her body was discovered by a bicyclist in the cornfield north of Oconomowoc. The body was clad “only in a brassiere and torn pantyhose,” the AP reported.
The crime involved a “horrid act of violence,” the judge said.
Kathleen Beletsky died of a blow to the head or by a neck wound, according to AP.