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Family of Johanna Balsewicz demands parole commission chair step down

Posted at 5:50 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 20:17:56-04

MADISON, Wis. — The family of a West Allis woman who was murdered back in 1997 is calling for the state's parole chairman to be fired.

The family of Johanna Balsewicz is going door to door to each senator in the capitol, trying to get them to join their fight to remove John Tate from his job.

In 1997, Balsewicz was separated from her husband, Douglas Balsewicz, who stabbed her more than 40 times. He was convicted and handed an 80-year sentence.

Douglas was handed an 80-year sentence and was set to walk free on parole last week after only serving 25 years. That was until Johanna's family demanded Governor Tony Evers do something to stop it. Ultimately, parole commission chairman John Tate rescinded Douglas' parole.

Johanna's family said that is not enough.

"John Tate you are not fit to do this job," Johanna's sister Karen Kannenberg said. "You never once called any of us to ask (us to) sit down and talk about this. This isn't a prisoner that had a drug offense. This is somebody that murdered our sister and we've been traumatized ever since and now all the wounds are all reopened again."

Gov. Evers appointed Tate and his current term runs through March 2023.

Several republican state senators are circulating a petition to call a special session to remove Chairman Tate. State Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) says they need 17 signatures. He said the first petition didn't have enough signatures.

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