MADISON, Wis. – Prosecutors on Monday charged an Iowa man they say walked into a police station this month and confessed to strangling his girlfriend in Wisconsin almost four years ago and stuffing her body in the trash.
Michael J. Burroughs, 26, of Marquette, Iowa, faces one count of first-degree reckless homicide with a domestic abuse penalty enhancer and one count of hiding a corpse. Both charges are felonies.
Burroughs' attorney, public defender Rose Oliveto, didn't immediately return a phone message left at her office Monday afternoon.
According to a criminal complaint, 23-year-old Shannon Fischer's mother called police in Prairie du Chien on Dec. 28, 2006, to report her daughter missing.
A state Justice Department agent interviewed Burroughs about two weeks later. Burroughs told the agent he had last seen Fischer on Dec. 18, when he kicked her out of an apartment in Prairie du Chien where he was living at the time. He claimed she had become too demanding and controlling.
Burroughs said Fischer didn't leave right away and pounded on his door for a while. He said he looked out when the knocking eventually stopped and Fischer was gone.
The case went cold until a little over a week ago. Burroughs walked into the Prairie du Chien police station Oct. 10 and told a dispatcher he killed Fischer, the complaint said.
Burroughs told investigators that he and Fischer were at his apartment in December 2006 when he decided to take a shower, the complaint said. He got out of the shower and checked his pants for methamphetamine he had in his pocket. When he didn't find any drugs, he assumed Fischer had stolen the meth.
Fischer denied any knowledge of the meth, but Burroughs said he got angry and strangled her until he knew she was dead, according to the complaint.
He dragged Fischer's body to his bedroom, wrapped it in blankets and put it in his closet. He removed the body two or three days later because of the smell and placed it into "two or more garbage bags," the complaint said.
The document does not say whether he dismembered her.
Burroughs put the body in a trash bin behind his apartment. Then he packed Fischer's belongings in a smaller bag and threw that into the bin, too, the complaint said. Garbage workers later hauled the bin away.
Burroughs said he had no help and had told no one since the crime happened, according to the complaint.
Online court records didn't list a defense attorney for Burroughs.
Prairie du Chien, a city of about 5,700 people, lies about 100 miles west of Madison on the Mississippi River. Marquette, Iowa, home to about 400 people, is directly across the river from Prairie du Chien.