By Shereen Siewert
The 24-year-old man accused of fatally shooting a Wausau woman at a northwest side apartment had a long history of domestic abuse-related charges involving the alleged victim in the case, court records show.
Umberto Lo appeared Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing in connection with the woman’s death, which was reported at 2:36 a.m. Sunday at an apartment in the 1300 block of North 9th Avenue in Wausau. Police say they arrived at the apartment to find the woman dead of an apparent gunshot wound to the head. The victim’s name is set to be publicly released Monday afternoon.
Two small children were in the home at the time of the shooting, police said.
Marathon County District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon said Lo allegedly sent a Facebook message to a family member immediately after the shooting that included a photo of the victim lying dead on the floor.
Court records show Lo was arrested in February 2019 and convicted two months later on charges of disorderly conduct with a domestic abuse modifier after an attack on the same victim. A charge of battery was dismissed as part of a plea agreement and Lo was placed on probation for 18 months.
Then in April 2020, while still on probation, Lo was arrested on a new domestic abuse-related charge. He was released on bond with a condition not to contact the woman. But in September, he was arrested and charged again, this time with strangulation/suffocation, battery, disorderly conduct and bail jumping. Initially, he was held on a larger cash bond but in October, his attorney successfully petitioned Circuit Judge Mike Moran to convert the cash to a signature bond, paving the way for Lo’s release – again with a requirement not to contact the victim.
Though the no-contact order was non waiveable, it wasn’t long before Lo was arrested again. In December, Lo faced new bail jumping charges and was released on a $500 bond after another incident. And 12 days later, after another allegedly violent encounter, Lo faced new bail jumping and disorderly conduct charges. Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson ordered a $2,500 bond with the first $500 in cash. That was enough to keep Lo in jail until Jan. 12, when he paid the cash and walked out of the Marathon County Courthouse a free man.
The order not to contact Vang remained in place and was still in effect on March 7, when Lo was arrested yet again. On March 8, Lo was charged with five counts of bail jumping and Judge Jacobson set a $2,000 cash bond. Lo paid the bond March 10.
Eleven days later, the alleged victim in all six cases was dead.
During Monday’s hearing, defense attorney Julie Sawyer told Circuit Judge Greg Strasser that Lo does not appear to understand the consequences he’s facing, and said Lo’s competency is also at issue in the five domestic abuse cases still pending.
Lo was already set to appear Friday for a competency hearing before Judge Moran. Now, prosecutors will work to piece together a criminal complaint on first-degree intentional homicide charges, an issue that will also be reviewed Friday by the judge.
But this time, Lo is unlikely to walk out of jail a free man before his next hearing. Judge Strasser agreed to Wetzsteon’s request for a $1 million cash bond for Lo, who remains behind bars as of Monday afternoon.
First-degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory life sentence upon conviction.