Meanwhile, Back in Madison, WI: Elderly Former Dane County Alderman Busted for Placing an Ad on Craig’s List for Someone to Build Him a Mail Bomb for His Wife’s Boyfriend

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This was big, sensational news in Mad City starting on Bastille Day, July 14.

I swear, Craig’s List is no longer the list I’ve grown to like, from the time I discovered it, from word of mouth, in San Francisco in the late Nineties. It’s become the place where you can get freebie, freaky sex; where you can entice pregnant women into a friendship where you can kill them and snatch their newborns; where a prospective john can rob and/or kill hookers for their money and take their panties as souvenirs, and if you’re a has-been movie director and composer from the Seventies, you can sucker and then rape women in a bizarre extension of the casting couch, sometimes with airfare provided. It’s become the place where there’s still more and more bad news. And I am sorry about that because Craig’s List started out really well, then got a little cultish, but in a lot of ways, still connects people with fairly reputable jobs, goods and services.

But now the dark side has taken over the headlines.

A local guy last week decided to use the website as his own version of Soldier of Fortune or mercenary-type magazines. A rather straight-arrow type that you’d least expect to engage in this sort of thing: using a shrapnel bomb to kill or permanently maim his wife’s lover. This story means that you can’t even rule out the differently-abled putting a contract on your ass as well. This wasn’t Jansson Wheeler’s cry from the heart. Wheeler wanted wreak pure revenge on his estranged wife, Dorothy. Check:

A 76-year old Madison man was arrested on Monday in connection with an attempt to obtain an explosive device and send it to someone in Montana.

Jansson S. Wheeler, a former Madison alderman and local attorney, was arrested at his home in the 1600 block of Haas Street on Monday afternoon on suspicion of attempting to possess explosives.

Police said Wheeler’s arrest follows an investigation that began after Wheeler posted a wanted ad on the Milwaukee section of the Craigslist website seeking someone to build him a bomb.

Former alderwoman Dorothy Wheeler, 71, the real target of her husband's irrational attempt to kill her lover (Courtesy:

Authorities said that they believe Wheeler wanted to send the bomb to a Montana man who is a friend of Wheeler’s estranged wife. He wanted the bomb in a box and rigged to explode when it opened, according to authorities.

The police report indicates that an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives called the phone number in the ad and posed as a bomb maker.

Authorities said Wheeler offered to pay $500 for the bomb and described how he wanted it to work.

“(He wanted) a metal box that when the lid to the box was lifted, that there would be shrapnel that would blow,” said Joel DeSpain, Madison Police Department spokesman.

On Monday, ATF agents and police officers delivered the fake bomb. The suspect was wearing latex gloves at the time of the arrest.

“At the time he was arrested, he was actually wearing latex gloves, so it appeared he was trying to not get his fingerprints on this device, which was inert at the time it was delivered. He had some sort of mailing package all ready that he was going to put this device in,” said DeSpain. “Instead of walking away with a bomb, he walked off to jail.”

Seventy-six years old, and out of his mind with jealousy and hate. I wonder if he ever had himself checked medically for hardening arteries. Sometimes you change dramatically when you get older; doctors warn about this kind of thing happening in men. But Wheeler didn’t figure on his assisted living aide squealing on him. Or perhaps he did. Anything so that he would not have to undergo such a life-changing decision: possibly being alone at the close of his life. I doubt whether love had anything to do with it any more. Especially in marriage, possession is not 9/10ths of the law.

According to the search warrant, Special Agent Mike Aalto of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tried to contact the person who posted the Craigslist ad. On May 30 he received a voice mail message from someone calling himself “Hal” who said he wanted a “lethal” device built using a metal toolbox or tackle box that had hex nuts and other shrapnel inside.

“Hal” told Aalto that he wanted a switch on the lid that would cause the box to detonate when the lid was opened, the search warrant states.

When Aalto contacted him on June 1, “Hal” offered to pay him $500 for the bomb.

“Hal” was short for Harold Smith, the name that Wheeler used in setting up a Yahoo e-mail account and a Craigslist account, the warrant states. The assisted living aide who helped him post the ad called police after she left his home, according to the warrant.

Both were formerly active in city and county government. Wheeler, it appears, became unhinged when he learned about Dorothy’s lover in Montana; that she may have been planning to leave him; and he even threatened to kill her and himself in a murder-suicide bid last September, when police were called to their home.

The divorce between Janssen and Dorothy Wheeler has been pending since February of this year. Wheeler may have been nasty, resisted and stalled in any way imaginable, including refusing to sign the final papers. Refusing, in essence, to let her go.

I don’t know what the laws are regarding divorce in this state, but isn’t it true that if one person doesn’t sign the final papers after a length of time, the divorce goes through regardless of what the other party thinks? A six-month deadline would have occurred next month.

Some of your jaws may have dropped that Dorothy Wheeler is so grandmotherly-looking, so beyond the flesh, you couldn’t imagine her being in the middle of this kind of thing. That Mrs. Wheeler would be at the center of the trials and tribulations–and blatant stupidity–you would see depicted with younger and more cut bodies on the daily soap operas on afternoon television.

Now I don’t know the Wheelers at all. I even don’t know if they are progressives, Tea Partiers, or Rethugs. I don’t presume to know anything about them, only what I can parse out from the local media coverage, and especially from the photographs and mug shots. I simply use my own experiences and those of people I’ve known, read or heard about. Frankly, no guy who pulls this kind of thing can be a very happy guy. He may not have been a great guy to live with. But I also know me. Sometimes, I have felt like this woman telling about what old age does, and she won every prize at the time for this performance. I can well imagine how it could be facing old age with the loss of your faculties, and even your ability to love and be loved in return.

The elderly do have sex lives. They love, lust, get silly, have flings, indulge in crushes, and some wanna kill anybody who gets in the way of who and what they love and want. They feel just as if they were half or a quarter of their chronological ages. Just think if someone came along and smoothed those folds in the face, the slack in the midriff and ruffled the graying hair and ignored the age spots. If that someone acknowledged them as warm, attractive and alive. That you, male or female, was someone special that couldn’t be taken for granted. It would make one feel that they had something to live for once again.

Those old bones aren’t cold bones by a long shot.

It could be that Dorothy Wheeler wanted tenderness before she left this lifetime as well. It’s my impression that she doesn’t look like the kind that would prolong something like this for her own aggrandizement, hence the divorce.

Wheeler, who is blind, was brought to court for a bail hearing Tuesday in a wheelchair. Court Commissioner Todd Meurer set bail at $30,000, although Wheeler’s attorney, Mark Eisenberg, said he will ask a judge to let Wheeler post his portion of the couple’s North Side home to get out of jail.

Wheeler was jailed on a tentative charge of attempting to possess explosives. Deputy District Attorney Judy Schwaemle said he could be charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide on Wednesday or Thursday.

I’m sure more of this sad tale will be revealed in coming months. And if I were the cops/Feds, I’d put him on some kind of watch during and after he’s in custody, even to keep him from offing himself. I don’t think that Wheeler is finished yet with his shenanigans.

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~ by blksista on July 18, 2010.

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