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Fond du Lac man charged with homicide after stabbing woman 12 times

Officers found Jaquelyn Jo Rooney on the floor, covered with a blanket and debris, with over 12 stab wounds, three skull fractures, and a broken jaw.
Davis appearing virtually in court with an attorney.
Posted at 6:44 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 19:44:47-05

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (NBC 26) — Gary E. Davis of Fond du Lac appeared in court for the first time Tuesday morning.

Davis is charged with three counts: First-Degree Intentional Homicide (Repeater, Use of a Dangerous Weapon), Mayhem (Repeater, Use of a Dangerous Weapon), and Hiding a Corpse (Repeater).

The state said the victim was 51-year-old Jaquelyn Jo Rooney.

Police were called to Rooney's residence on E. Merrill Ave. on Nov. 12 to conduct a welfare check. According to the criminal complaint, a methadone clinic in Fond du Lac County called for the check after Rooney was not seen for three days.

Upon arrival, officers found Rooney’s body on the floor, covered with a blanket and debris, with over 12 stab wounds, three skull fractures, and a broken jaw, according to the criminal complaint. Officers also reported blood surrounding the body.

The state alleges the incident took place sometime between Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.

According to the criminal complaint, witnesses say Rooney and Davis were in a romantic relationship and had been arguing frequently prior to Nov. 8.

One witness said they heard Rooney telling Davis “I can’t take this anymore” several days before the incident, according to detectives.

Rooney has a prior felony conviction for domestic violence.

"Incidents of domestic violence have been and remain by far the leading cause of all violent crime in our community," Fond du Lac Police Chief Aaron Goldstein said. "Fond du Lac PD will continue to work tirelessly to reduce the amount of domestic violence that we see."

Goldstein said the police department trains officers in domestic violence de-escalation and is planning to hire a domestic violence intervention training officer.

Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney said there are resources for victims and families facing domestic violence.

"In the district attorney's offices across Wisconsin, we have a victim witness office that adds a resource to the court process and what that looks like," Toney said. "There's also crime victim compensation through the state and other resources that D.A.'s offices will work with the families on."

The criminal complaint said surveillance footage showed Davis dropping off Rooney’s car in a parking lot, and then entering a Kwik Trip wearing shoes matching a pair officers found at Rooney's apartment.

Police said cell phone logs show Rooney and Davis calling each other several times the night of Nov. 8, though Davis initially told detectives he did not recall those calls and said he was at his apartment from 9:41 p.m. until he left for work at 7:30 a.m. the next morning.

The court set Davis's bail at $2 million, and he will appear in court again on Dec. 2.

Toney asked that anyone with information on Davis or his relationship with Rooney contact the City of Fond du Lac Police Department or Detective Kristina Meilahn by calling 920-322-3713 or emailing KMeilahn@fdl.wi.gov.