Sparta Officer Involved Death Investigation - Names released (Press Release)

January 11, 2018

MADISON, Wis. – Since Sunday, January 7, 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) has been leading an officer-involved death investigation in Sparta, Wis. at the request of Monroe County Sheriff Scott Perkins and Sparta Chief of Police David Kuderer.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and the Sparta Police Department responded to a domestic violence-related 911 call in Sparta. Law enforcement officers encountered a male suspect threatening the life of a female with a knife and a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy deployed deadly force with his firearm. The decedent succumbed to injuries at the scene.

The decedent is identified as 21-year-old Skyler D. Burnette of Sparta. Burnette was on active supervision at the time of the incident.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy is identified as Jesse Murphy. Deputy Murphy was hired by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in 2006. Prior to working for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Murphy was employed as a limited term employee by the Juneau County Sheriff’s Office Park Patrol. Deputy Murphy has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of this investigation, per the sheriff’s department policy.

The Sparta Police officers who were present at the time of this critical incident are identified as Sergeant Booker T. Ferguson, Officer Marc Nelson, and Officer Chris Welker.

The Wisconsin DOJ-led investigation of this incident has been a collaboration between DCI, the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Monroe County Medical Examiner. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Sparta Police Department have been fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation.

DCI is continuing to collect evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to the Monroe County District Attorney when the investigation concludes.