MILWAUKEE -- A charge of first-degree intentional homicide was filed Tuesday against Jesse Anderson in the death of his wife, who was stabbed 21 times in the head, face and upper body.
In announcing the charge at a late afternoon news conference, Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann revealed some of the evidence which implicated Anderson and disputed his story that his wife was randomly attacked.
Anderson told police he and his wife were attacked by two young black men the night of April 21 after they left a popular restaurant near the Northridge Shopping Mall. He said the attackers grabbed his wife and began stabbing her in the head and he was stabbed after he went to her rescue.
McCann said Mrs. Anderson had sustained at least 21 stab wounds to her face, head and upper body. She died of her injuries Thursday.
Anderson suffered four stab wounds to his chest, one of which punctured his lung. He left the hospital Saturday and was taken into police custody.
Anderson likely will appear in court Wednesday morning, McCann said.
The Milwaukee Sentinel reported this week that Anderson was in debt and stood to collect $500,000 on a life insurance policy if his wife died. McCann refused to discuss the reasons why Anderson would kill his wife.
'We are not going to speculate on a motive at this particular point, ' he said.
A Los Angeles Clippers cap and a red-handled fishing knife are the key pieces of evidence against Anderson, McCann said.
A witness told investigators that a man had purchased his Clippers hat at the Northridge mall the day of the stabbing for $20. The witness called police after hearing that a Clippers hat had been found at the scene of the stabbing.
The hat found at the scene was identified by the witness as the one he had sold because it had a grease spot on it, McCann said. Further, the witness identified Anderson from a police lineup as the man who bought the hat.
Another person at the mall who witnessed the transaction also identified Anderson as the man who purchased the hat, McCann said.
An employee of a downtown Milwaukee store identified Anderson as the man who purchased a red-handled fishing knife identical to the one used to kill Mrs. Anderson, McCann said.
Anderson told police the knife with a 4-inch blade was left in his chest by his assailants and he pulled it out.
Anderson's family issued a statement and pledged to stand by him.
'This is a very sad and trying time for our family, but we want to affirm our love and support for Jesse,' read a statement released on behalf of Anderson's family by his attorneys, Dennis Coffey and David Geraghty. 'He is a loving father, brother and son and an important part of all of our lives.'
The Andersons' children, ages 5, 2 and 1, were temporarily placed in the custody of relatives from Illinois.