HURLEY, Wis. – Criminal charges have now been filed in connection with the Dec. 22 murder of a northern Wisconsin man, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

On January 1, 2018, the body of Wayne M. Valliere, Jr. of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa was recovered in Iron County, after he was reported missing by family on Christmas Day.

Richard Francis Alexander Allen, 27; Joseph D. Lussier, 26; James B. Lussier, 19; Curtis A. Wolfe, 26; and Evan T. Oungst, 27 all face charges of conspiracy to commit first degree intentional homicide as party to a crime while armed with a dangerous weapon and with hiding a corpse.

According to the criminal complaint:

Valliere left the home he shared with his girlfriend in the early morning hours of Dec. 22 and met with the defendants at a party. One witness told police Wolfe and Joseph Lussier argued with Valliere over missing money and a meth pipe they believed Valliere had stolen. Another witness told investigators Valliere was suspected of being a confidential informant for the police.

Eventually, Valliere left with the suspects in a red minivan and drove to a remote area in Mercer, where Valliere was given a chance to “fight for his life,” according to witness statements.

After beating Valliere, Allen allegedly took out a handgun and shot Valliere in the head, according to the complaint. Then, while Valliere was still writhing on the ground, Joseph Lussier took the gun and emptied the clip into Valliere’s back, police said. The suspects then allegedly hid Valliere’s body in a wooded area off Swamp Creek Road in Mercer.

Autopsy results show Valliere suffered a total of eight gunshot wounds, six of which were in his back.

“I am grateful for the excellent work in the brutal weather conditions by my DCI and crime lab teams and the local law enforcement agencies that led to the recovery of Mr. Valliere’s body in Iron County, and the hundreds of hours of work that led to the arrest of these individuals. The dedication shown by these unsung heroes should not go unnoticed by the public,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel.

At the request of the Iron County District Attorney, the DOJ Criminal Litigation Unit is handling the prosecution of this case. Assistant Attorneys General Richard DuFour and Chad Verbeten have been assigned by Attorney General Schimel to lead this prosecution.

The investigation into Mr. Valliere’s death was led by the DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), with collaboration between Ashland County Sheriff’s Office, Forest County Sheriff’s Office, Iron County Sheriff’s Office, Lac du Flambeau Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Milwaukee Police Department, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Vilas County Sheriff’s Office, and Wisconsin State Patrol. Victim services are being provided by the Iron County District Attorney’s Victim Services and DOJ’s Office of Crime Victim Services.