Signature Bond Kills Again In Milwaukee

For the second time in as many weeks, a dangerous criminal freed from custody has killed a woman in a domestic abuse attack.  Dan O’Donnell reports.

July 27, 2022
Perspective by Dan O’Donnell

For the second time in as many weeks, a dangerous criminal freed from custody has killed a woman in a domestic abuse attack.  And this time, he didn’t have to pay a dime to secure his release.

Wilson Medina Cruz, 25, was charged Monday with the shooting death of his estranged girlfriend and mother of his young child.  Amazingly, at the time of the murder he was out of jail on signature bond in two different cases in Milwaukee and Waukesha County.  And even more amazingly, one of those cases included a charge of bail jumping.

On February 18th, 2021, Cruz was charged in Milwaukee County with Domestic Abuse Disorderly Conduct, a Class B misdemeanor.  A little more than a month later, he failed to show up for his initial court appearance.  On May 12th, his initial court appearance was rescheduled for June 14th.  He didn’t show up for that one, either.

How could he?  He was too busy stealing cars.  On March 11th, 2021, he was charged in Waukesha County with Taking and Driving a Vehicle Without the Owner’s Consent, a Class H felony.  He did attend an April 1st hearing via Zoom, and Waukesha County Court Commissioner Linda Saafir freed him on a $500 signature bond.

He continued to appear for his Waukesha County court hearings, but never bothered to show up in Milwaukee County.  A bench warrant was issued there, and Cruz eventually stopped showing up to Waukesha County Court, too.  After he missed a pretrial hearing on September 21st, Waukesha County Judge Paul Bugenhagen immediately ordered his bond forfeited, and signed a warrant for his arrest.  The Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office charged him in absentia with Bail Jumping, a Class H felony.

Cruz was finally arrested this past March and brought before Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Dewey B. Martin on March 20th.  Although Cruz had disappeared for more than a year and faced a Bail Jumping felony in Waukesha County, Martin allowed him to walk free on a $1,000 signature bond.  Five days later, when he appeared in Waukesha County Circuit Court, Court Commissioner David Herring inexplicably also gave him a $1,000 signature bond.

Herring, of course, is no stranger to freeing killers.  Just days before the Waukesha Christmas Parade Massacre, he released the killer after erroneously believing that he was being held in Milwaukee County.  Even though an attorney for the State of Wisconsin urged Herring to keep Brooks in jail for non-payment of child support, Herring insisted that the killer should be released.  Five days later, he killed five people and injured more than 50 others.

Now, just eight months later, he has blood on his hands again.  So does Dewey Martin.  So does anyone else who believed that someone who had repeatedly proven that he was unworthy of release should be freed on signature bond.

How often will the people of Southeastern Wisconsin continue to let this happen?  Just a week ago, the MacIver Institute broke the horrific story of Allen Dale Grant, a 61-year-old man whose bail was inexplicably lowered from $10,000 to $1,000, killed his estranged girlfriend and his housemate in a night of terror earlier this month.

Grant was in custody in Milwaukee County on charges of Fleeing/Eluding an Officer and Felon in Possession of a Firearm, but Judge Milton Childs ordered his bail reduced to a mere $1,000 even after Grant registered two pretrial violations.

The push in both Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties seems to be to release criminals no matter how dangerous, no matter how unlikely they are to appear at future hearings.  This isn’t just foolish public policy; it has literally taken three lives in less than a month.

How many more have to die, one wonders, before people like Milton Childs, David Herring, and Linda Saafir realize what a danger they are to their fellow citizens?