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MADISON, Wis. - Dane County Sheriffs officials said formal charges have been filed against the primary suspect in a February homicide in Mazomanie.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said formal charges have been filed against Phillip Byrd, 39, of Janesville, and he is scheduled for an initial appearance on Thursday.

Byrd will likely be charged with first-degree intentional homicide with additional jail time because he allegedly used a dangerous weapon, Mahoney said.

Mahoney said the shooting was a case of domestic abuse, and wants to make sure anyone dealing with domestic abuse seeks help.

Cheryl Gilberg was found dead in her Mazomanie home on Feb. 23.

In early March, approximately 25 deputies conducted a foot search along Highway 14 between Mazomanie and Middleton. Deputies are looking for a number of items, including the Charter Arms Pink Lady .38 caliber revolver missing from Gilbergs home.

Mahoney said Wednesday investigators are still looking for the revolver and other pieces of evidence.

Byrd was originally held in the Rock County jail on charges of bail-jumping and drug possession.

According to a criminal complaint, a prescription amphetamine pill bottle prescribed to Gilberg was found alongside prescriptions belonging to Byrd during the home search.

Officials said more than 100 people have been interviewed as part of the investigation into the death of Gilberg.

Gilberg owned the house, and was the only person living there at the time of the incident. She was found by a family member who was checking on her.

Mahoney stressed victims of domestic violence do have resources to turn to in Dane County, including Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS).

Gilberg had reported domestic abuse situations to police, but never involving Byrd.

DAIS Executive Director Shannon Barry said the effects of this kind of violence can be long-lasting.

“People who tend to commit domestic violence and are perpetrators of domestic violence are very savvy and are able to key in pretty quickly to someone who may appear vulnerable or who may appear wounded,” Barry said.

While the details that led up to Gilberg’s death are still unclear, Barry said having previous abusive relationships can make someone more likely to be victimized again.

“I don't ever think it's the victim's fault for getting involved in these relationships,” Barry said.  “I think often times it's actually that people who use violence in relationships are actively seeking and targeting those who are perceived as vulnerable.”

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or you know someone who may be a victim, you can call 608-251-4445 to reach the 24 hour hotline at DAIS.




Formal charges filed in Mazomanie homicide Wednesday, April 2 2014, 10:05 PM CDT

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