Wittenberg woman’s court case still in flux

Judge approves Leeder’s requests for two out-of-state trips
By: 
Lee Pulaski
City Editor

The case involving a woman facing charges for pointing a gun at children in Wittenberg is still in flux, but she received approval to leave the state twice in the next couple of months on pre-planned family trips.

Mindy S. Leeder, 35, was charged May 10, 2023, with one count of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

If convicted, Leeder faces $25,000 in fines and 12 1/2 years in prison for the first-degree recklessly endangering safety count and $1,000 in fines and 90 days in jail for the disorderly conduct count.

Joseph Kaupie, Leeder’s attorney, said during a hearing Feb. 21 that he has been in discussions with Shawano-Menominee County District Attorney Gregory Parker, and while they’re still in discussions about an offer to settle the case, Kaupie is expecting to receive that offer soon.

“I talked with him two weeks ago, so I’m expecting that offer shortly,” Kaupie said.

Kaupie then told Circuit Court Judge William Kussel Jr. that Leeder and her family had planned two trips out of state prior to charges being filed, and because her bond requires no leaving the state without prior permission from the court, she was requesting permission.

“I’ve spoken to the district attorney’s office,” Kaupie said. “In this matter, the state has stated they have no objection to that.”

The first trip, according to Kaupie, is to attend a historical reenactment in Mississippi beginning March 8 with a return to Wisconsin scheduled for March 18. He said the second trip was to go to Niagara Falls to observe the total solar eclipse, leaving April 6 and returning April 10.

Leeder agreed to sign a waiver of extradition regarding the two trips and did so during the hearing.

According to the criminal complaint, deputies were dispatched May 9, 2023, to 401 S. Mill St. in Wittenberg for a report of a weapons offense. The caller claimed that a woman was at Pond Park and was pointing a firearm at multiple children. When arriving on scene, a deputy was shown a video of Leeder as she allegedly pulled a gun from her waistband and pointed it at one of the children, who was recording the video.

The deputies were informed of the house that Leeder entered, at 301 E. Front St. When police officers pulled up to the residence, Leeder walked out of the house with her hands in the air, complying with law enforcement officials’ orders. The firearm that Leeder had allegedly pointed at the children was found inside the residence.

The children who were at the park at the time told law enforcement that Leeder came to the park to yell at them because they were allegedly bullying her children. The children said that they were not bullying. They stated that Leeder was pointing the gun at them and waving it around in the air.

The children reportedly told Leeder that they were going to call the police. From there, the criminal complaint states that Leeder put the gun in her pocket and went to the Front Street residence, where law enforcement arrested her.

In an interview with Leeder, deputies claim she stated that she could hear her daughter yelling when the daughter was at Pond Park. Upon hearing the yelling, Leeder stated that she wanted to walk over to the park to see what was going on. She also stated that it is common for her to take a concealed firearm with her when leaving the residence, as she has a valid concealed carry permit. She claimed the firearm was loaded.

Leeder told deputies that when she was leaving her residence, her daughter came home and reported the bullying, but did not specify what the bullying was, according to the criminal complaint. Leeder told law enforcement that her children have experienced bullying at Pond Park in the past.

When addressing the group of children at Pond Park, Leeder said that the children became argumentative and began to form a semi-circle around her. She allegedly told the children that she had a firearm and, when asked if it was real, she allegedly pulled the gun out of her pocket. She reportedly pointed the gun in the air without putting her finger on the trigger, saying that she did not point the gun at any of the children and was being situationally aware of her surroundings. She said that the children got scared and that she put the gun back into her pocket after holding it in the air.

When questioned by law enforcement whether presenting the firearm was necessary, Leeder reportedly said: “It probably wasn’t; I was probably just nervous and scared. I don’t like confrontation, to be honest.”

Another hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. May 7 in Branch II of the Shawano County Courthouse.

lpulaski@newmedia-wi.com