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Wisconsin governor asks panel to reconsider parole of man convicted in 1997 homicide

Tony Evers
Posted at 12:40 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 18:34:22-04

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers is imploring the chairman of the Wisconsin Parole Commission to reconsider his decision to parole a convicted murderer who served less than 25 years of his 80-year sentence, a move that came as the Democrat up for reelection this year faced mounting criticism.

Evers met Friday in the Capitol with members of the family of the victim, Johanna Balsewicz, and shortly after that concluded he sent a letter asking for “immediate and expeditious” reconsideration of her killer’s parole.

Evers does not have the power to reverse the parole, but his appointee who chairs the parole commission, John Tate, can do that.

Douglas Balsewicz is slated to be released from prison as soon as Tuesday.

Johanna's family told TMJ4 News they are believe she would be proud of their meeting with Gov. Evers Friday.

"Jo Jo was a fighter, and her fighting spirit was definitely with us," said Johanna's niece, Theresa Cook.

At 23-years-old, Johanna had two kids and was a graduate of Concordia College. She was separated from her husband, Douglas, when he stabbed her more than 30 times in 1997.

Johanna's family wants to make sure no other families have to endure their same pain.

"He admitted that his office should have been in contact with us sooner," Cook said. "He read the entire 70 pages of the transcripts...I will let you know this letter says everything our family has been saying, and he absolutely comes out and says he does not agree with this decision."

TMJ4 News has reached out to the parole commission for a response, but have not heard back.

Douglas will be carefully monitored and can not have any contact with the victim's family.

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