Waukesha attempted homicide, man charged

Kurtis Berberich

A Waukesha man is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, among other counts, in connection to a Sunday, Feb. 20 incident.

Prosecutors accuse Kurtis Berberich, 43, of attacking and seriously injuring two people in a reported domestic disturbance. 

Waukesha police were called to the incident around 11:20 a.m. on Feb. 20. The person who reported the incident said a "little kid just came out of the house screaming" of an attack on two elderly people, a criminal complaint states.

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The complaint went on to state that officers went into the house and placed Berberich under arrest. He smelled of intoxicants and had bloody hands and blood on his clothing, allegedly telling an officer "things got out of hand."

At the time, an officer could hear someone yelling for help inside the house. A 70-year-old man was found on the floor, and there was blood on the victim, carpet and wall, the complaint states. A 65-year-old woman was found in a chair, where there was also blood. One of the victims told police that Berberich was "trying to kill us, and he just kept hitting us." Both were taken to the hospital for treatment.

The complaint states the living room of the home was "in a state of disarray" with items thrown around.

Victim statements

The child, 9, told police that something had upset Berberich "in regards to making bacon." At one point, the complaint states, the child said Berberich grabbed his throat and asked: "Are you calling me a liar?" The child also said he saw Berberich tackle one of the victims and punch both of them.

According to the complaint, the 65-year-old woman said Beberich was attacking the 70-year-old man. When she tried to intervene, Berberich began attacking her. She told police she felt that if "she did not intervene" Berberich was going to beat the man to death. It was not until police arrived that the beating stopped, she said.

The 70-year-old man did not speak to police, according to the complaint. His injuries were "severe" and "potentially fatal," a physician told police.

Defendant interview

The afternoon of the incident, police spoke to Berberich who "knowingly and voluntarily" waived his rights to remain silent and to an attorney, the complaint states.

Berberich described that he was confronted because he "smelled like alcohol" that morning. He said "something happened today" and that he "did not have any intention" of doing "anything bad to anyone," according to the complaint. He claimed that the 70-year-old "took a swing at him" and that he had a "mean look" on his face.

The complaint states Berberich said "things got out of control," and that he "had no idea" how the man became so injured because he didn't think he "caused serious injury." He later said the man and woman may have gotten injured "inadvertently."

Berberich also told police, per the complaint, that he became angry when the woman was screaming that he was trying to kill them. 

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In all, Berberich is charged with five counts:

  • Attempted first-degree intentional homicide (2 counts)
  • Physical abuse of an elder person (2 counts)
  • Cause mental harm to a child

Berberich made an initial court appearance on Feb. 22, and a judge set cash bond at $250,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 1.

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