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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Son to face homicide charge

--- Suspect due in court Tuesday

By Kayla Bunge/Janesville Gazette

Alice Newberg had intended to plant four flats of flowers in the beds around her farmhouse a week ago Friday afternoon.

Terry Mayer/The Week
The garage building where Alice Newberg was found.
But the flowers were never planted.

Alice was found dead a week ago Friday morning lying face-down on the garage floor, bloody from multiple stab wounds to the chest.

Police arrested her son, Jeffrey Newberg, 45, that afternoon. He is being held at the Walworth County Jail, and prosecutors expect to bring a homicide charge against him when a criminal complaint is filed Tuesday, District Attorney Phil Koss said.

"We sure never expected this to happen," said Howard Newberg, Alice's husband of 52 years.

Howard was in jail the day of the killing on charges of fourth-offense drunken driving and operating after revocation. He called the house several times that day, but Alice never answered.

Alice was baby-sitting her 5-year-old granddaughter, Howard said.

He finally reached his son, Michael, about 8:30 p.m.

"I said, 'I've been calling the house all day. Where's Mom?' And he said, 'Mom isn't there anymore,'" Howard said. "And I said, 'Where is she?' And he said, 'Jeff ran a knife through her.'

"He dragged her out to the garage on the dirt floor and just dropped her there and let her bleed to death," Howard said.

Town of Linn police were dispatched at 11:11 a.m. Friday, May 23, to the house at N1000 Highway 120, Lake Geneva, to check on Alice. Koss said Alice's son-in-law had called police.

When detective Will Borgen arrived at the house, he saw Jeffrey coming out of the garage with blood on his clothes and a bump on his forehead, Koss said. Newberg said he had been drinking and fell.

But Howard said Jeffrey was on drugs--a mix of prescription antidepressants and sleeping pills--when he stabbed his mother.

"He would take a pill from the prescription and then take two or three sleeping pills, and he'd just freak out," Howard said. "He's like a walking zombie."

Howard said he and Jeffrey often got into fights when Jeffrey acted strangely.

"It's unbelievable how he acted," Howard said. "He'd get his face in my face, and he'd say, 'Go ahead, hit me, Dad. Hit me.'"

Howard said family members had a good relationship until three years ago, when Alice started dealing with health problems, stressing the family.

Three years ago, Alice had to have all of her teeth removed. She got dentures, but they bothered her because they didn't fit correctly. Two years ago, Alice suffered a heart attack and had quadruple bypass surgery. Last year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy, Howard said.

"She was doing so well," Howard said. "And our son took it all away from her."

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