MILWAUKEE -- 32-year-old James Donegan is now charged with the murder of 45-year-old Teresa Boone at Kilbourn Park in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood.
Donegan faces one charge of first degree intentional homicide and a second count of armed robbery with use of force.
Donegan, the son of Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Thomas Donegan, is accused of stabbing Boone to death Sunday night, September 2nd during an attempted robbery. The criminal complaint describes a man not motivate to attack -- but to defend.
According to the complaint, Donegan thought Boone and others were after him and assumed her purse contained a gun. He allegedly admitted to killing her, using a box cutter to stab her in the neck and taking her purse. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office confirms that Boone had a few cuts to the neck. But the office says the cause of death was strangulation.
A witness told police he heard Boone's screams in the distance, and witnessed a man who looks like Donegan making downward thrusts. Another witness says Donegan came to the bench he was sitting on, and said, "Man they are after me. The police trying to catch me."
According to the criminal complaint, "Donegan stated that he was filled with adrenaline and intentionally killed the woman, but that he does have some remorse and made a mistake in killing her, and understood that he would be going to prison."
Judge Donegan says his son has significant mental health problems and wasn't taking his medication. In a statement to FOX6 News, Judge Donegan writes, "I really don't want to go into any further detail about James' illness, the possible criminal charges, or all the suffering Ms. Boone's family and friends are going through."
Carolyn Boyd is the grandmother of Boone's children. She says she understands this case is also a tragedy for the Donegan family.
"The truth of the matter is if his son needed treatment, he should have been in a more sound place where he could get his medication," Boyd said.
FOX6 News visited Donegan's apartment building Thursday. One neighbor said Donegan was a quiet men who was always polite and would hold the door open for neighbors. He also said he would never have believed Donegan was capable of killing someone.
To avoid any conflict of interest the suspect may see his case prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office, versus the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office – a move the victim’s family supports.
If convicted on the charges, Donegan faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.