Wis. man accused of killing half-brother reaches deal

Prosecutors ask for 12 years in prison

A man accused of beating his autistic half-brother to death and then hiding his body is taking a plea deal.

Jeffrey Vogelsberg was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 27-year-old Matthew Graville. His trial started last week and was put on hold when he was admitted to a hospital with a medical issue on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Vogelsberg returned to court and pleaded no contest to second-degree reckless homicide. The state will ask that he get 12 years in prison and seven years of extended supervision. Charges of first-degree homicide, hiding a corpse and intimidating a witness will be dismissed.

Vogelsberg was also granted permission to contact his mother.

Vogelsberg’s attorney will ask for eight years in prison. The maximum sentence for the charge is 15 years.

Prosecutors accused Vogelsberg of regularly torturing and finally killing Graville in Mazomanie in the summer of 2012. Graville’s body was not found until November of that year.

Vogelsberg was also charged with hiding a corpse and intimidating a witness, for allegedly writing a threatening letter to his grandfather.

Robert McCumber, who used to live with the brothers, broke down in tears while testifying during the trial describing times Vogelsberg abused Graville.

McCumber testified that Vogelsberg shot Graville with a BB gun, forced him to eat dog feces and mow the lawn in the summer while wearing winter clothes. He also testified that Vogelsberg waterboarded Graville and would beat him with a PVC pipe and a two-by-four board.

“The defendant would tie Matthew to two-by-fours attached to sawhorses, hold a towel over his face and pour water on the towel,” McCumber said.

The defense claims the two fought like any pair of brothers, and police should have looked at other suspects.

Vogelsberg’s mother, Laura Robar of Fort Atkinson, was sentenced for using a Quest card belonging to Graville within weeks of his death to buy groceries. Robar wasn’t related to Graville but helped with financial affairs.