By Shereen Siewert
The 65-year-old man accused of fatally shooting a Wausau woman and injuring two other victims at a Grand Avenue cemetery rejected a plea agreement and is now edging closer to trial.
Henry “Hank” West, of Schofield, faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide, 11 counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, three counts of attempted arson, one count of arson of a building without the owner’s consent, and resisting or obstructing an officer.
During a status conference Wednesday, Marathon County District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon told a judge her office extended a plea offer to West, who faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if he is convicted of killing 52-year-old Patty Grimm.
West is also accused of shooting William Buhse, 60, and Rosemelia Short, 70, both of whom survived.
West allegedly shot all three victims on the morning of Oct. 3 at Pine Grove Cemetery, 1501 Grand Ave., Wausau, after setting fire to his Schofield apartment and rigging the Fullmer Street complex with incendiary devices.
Grimm was the longtime manager of Pine Grove Cemetery, where West was once employed.
Police, in a criminal complaint filed Oct. 18 in Marathon County Circuit Court, say West meticulously prepared for the attack and could have killed hundreds of people had his plans not been foiled by first responders.
Officers arrested West, who had fled on a bicycle to the top of the soccer field at the nearby Eastbay Sports Complex, minutes after their arrival to the scene of the shooting. While being pinned to the ground, he allegedly told officers he knew he would “end up in jail for life.”
During a July court hearing, Wetzsteon said a jury trial could take three to four weeks.
The next step in the process is a motion hearing, set for Oct. 28. West remains behind bars on a $10 million bond.