FOX LAKE, Wis. – A man accused of choking and beating his wife to death outside the door of the Fox Lake police department was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, the first killing in Fox Lake in 20 years.
Jeffrey A. Asbury, 40, of Fond du Lac was also charged with a felony count of eluding an officer. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life plus 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Asbury's wife, Sherry, died Sunday from strangulation and blunt-force trauma to the chest and head, according to the criminal complaint.
"I know I did it. I don't know how I did it, but I know I did it. There was nobody else around," the complaint quotes Asbury as telling a sheriff's deputy.
Court Commissioner Steve Seim ordered Asbury held on $400,000 cash bond. A preliminary hearing was scheduled April 26 in Dodge County Circuit Court.
"That this crime was committed at the police department shows a disregard for the legal system," Seim said. "He allegedly admitted to the crime and there was blood on his hands at the time of the arrest."
Jeffrey Asbury was separated from Sherry, 35, since January and may have been angry that his wife was reportedly seeing someone else, prosecutors said.
Earlier this month, he called his wife 10 to 20 times threatening to kill her, his children and his in-laws, the complaint said.
Sherry Asbury's body was found in the lobby of the Fox Lake Municipal Building, which houses the six-officer police department. The office was unoccupied at the time.
A witness called 911 around 4:45 p.m Sunday to report seeing Jeffrey Asbury ram his wife's car in the municipal building's parking lot, telling authorities Sherry Asbury ran into the building with Jeffrey Asbury in pursuit.
By the time Fox Lake police Officer James Perkins arrived, Jeffrey Asbury was getting back into his car. There was no sign of his wife.
Asbury refused to cooperate so Perkins used a Taser on him, according to Sheriff Todd Nehls. Asbury broke free and drove about a mile away before his car ran off the road.
When Perkins took him into custody for fleeing an officer, Asbury had blood on his hands, Nehls said.
He told the officer, "I think she's dead," the complaint said.
Sherry Asbury, of Waupun, was found unresponsive on her back and was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital.
It was unclear whether the victim was trying to reach the police department. Nehls said once she was in the lobby, her only chance to contact authorities would have been to use the pay phone.
"Very seldom is there anybody in (the police department)," Nehls said. "If you have a police officer sitting in the office, that's one less officer on the street where they need to be."
The department maintains one officer on duty for each shift but the lobby is always open, he said.
All 911 calls in the area get routed to the Dodge County Central Dispatch center, which relays information to Fox Lake officers and sheriff's deputies.
Fox Lake is about 50 miles northeast of Madison.