MILWAUKEE -- The case was dismissed against Misti Kruchten, 37, of Milwaukee, after the state's essential witness failed to appear in court on Monday, June 17, the first day of Kruchten's jury trial.
The state had no alternative theory of prosecution, so the court granted the defense motion to dismiss the case without prejudice. It was ordered that any bail money posted be returned to Kruchten.
A single charge of first degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon was filed against Kruchten in November 2018.
Police said the shooting of Elaina Rookard near 11th and Keefe on Nov. 11, 2018 happened during an argument over a man. That man spoke exclusively with FOX6 News -- sharing his side of the story.
"Emotionally, I'm destroyed, because I loved both women dearly, and I can't get Elaina back. That's really killing me. Both of these are two loving people. It's just an incident that got out of hand," said Willie Shavers.
When FOX6 spoke with Shavers in the days after the shooting, he was staying at the home he and Kruchten shared, with Kruchten's two children. He created a memorial out front for his other girlfriend, Rookard.
"Elaina found out about Misti weeks ago, but we got over that. We still had our understanding of what was going on between us," said Shavers.
He said Kruchten didn't know about Rookard until the shooting happened.
According to the criminal complaint, officers were called to the neighborhood near 11th and Keefe around 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 11, 2018. Several 911 calls indicated there had been a shooting in the area. Officers arriving at the scene saw the victim, Rookard, lying face down in the street. She suffered a gunshot wound.
Homicide near 11th and Keefe in Milwaukee
The complaint indicated officers saw Kruchten "standing on the front porch of a house" nearby. She apparently put her hands up and said, "It was me. The gun's right there." Officers saw a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol on the porch railing. Kruchten was arrested.
A witness who spoke to police said she was in a car with Rookard when Rookard spotted her boyfriend in another vehicle. The complaint said Rookard followed the car "because she suspected that her boyfriend was with another woman." At some point, the car pulled over and Rookard confronted her boyfriend. During this time, Kruchten exited the vehicle and got involved. That argument became a physical fight between Kruchten and Rookard, the complaint indicated. The witness told police the two women were separated and she "believed the fight was over." But a few moments later, the witness told police she saw Kruchten go to her vehicle, bring back a gun, "raise her arm, point the gun at (Rookard) and fire once."
"I'm trying to pull (Elaina) up off of Misti. Every time I calmed Elaina down, (Elaina's friend) -- she's the one who started Elaina back up with it," said Shavers.
Shavers said he went back inside to check on the kids and then...
"Before I got ready to respond, I heard, 'bang.' I jumped back. I was shocked. I see Misti stand up. I see Elaina fall and I fell to the ground," said Shavers.
Police said Shavers wasn't at the scene when they arrived.
According to the criminal complaint, Kruchten "claimed that she was defending herself, that she was only firing a 'warning shot,' that the gun accidentally went off, and that she could not remember the shooting at all." The complaint indicated Kruchten had a valid concealed carry permit.