Prosecutors present testimony on 2000 burglary
By Robert Cloud
Jurors learned a few details Tuesday about the character of Chad Magolski, the 35-year-old New London man currently on trial for the murder of James Park.
Melanie Chally was called to the stand to testify to her relationship with Magolski. She was 16 years old at the time of her relationship with him.
Chally spoke about a court order requiring Magolski to pay child support for her daughter. In December 2007, the month when Park was stabbed to death, Magolski was $17,115 in arrears on his child support payments.
Kaukauna Police Officer Tom Bartolazzi testified regarding a burglary that he investigated at the Van Dyn Hoven auto dealer in Kaukauna in May 2000.
There was no damage to the exterior doors, but two interior doors had been pried open and a bank bag filled with cash was stolen.
Magolski was the initial suspect because he had been an employee at Van Dyn Hoven before he was terminated about two weeks prior to the break-in. He had been at the business the night prior to the burglary.
Bartolazzi said he went to Magolski’s home, but Magolski refused to answer the door. Bartolazzi then asked a neighbor to notify him if Magolski left the house. Police later arrested Magolski after he left his residence.
Bartolazzi said Magolski was cooperative with the investigation and admitted to the burglary.
“He had been there the night before and hid in a room and waited for everyone to leave,” Bartolazzi said.
Magolski hid the money in a secret compartment in his closet.
Several witnesses testified that Magolski did not answer the door when they knocked, although he may have been home at the time.
Darwin Alberts, Magolski’s landlord, made numerous attempts to contact Magolski after he failed to pay his rent in December 2007. He went to Magolski’s apartment on Dec. 1.
“He didn’t answer the door,” Alberts said. “I went back four or five times before I got a hold of him.”
Alberts said he later encountered Magolski, who said he had quit his job with Graichin Sanitation in New London because it was too cold to work outdoors. Alberts also testified that he came back to the apartment on “the 11th or 12th” of December and found an envelope with $50 in it and a note scrawled on the outside. Magolski’s note indicated that he would be back home from work around 7 p.m.
There are questions relating to the date when Alberts found the note with the $50 bill.
Alberts is 82 years old, hard of hearing and he recently suffered a stroke. At times, he struggled to hear or understand the attorney’s questions while he was on the stand Tuesday.
Special Agent Michael Rindt, an investigator with the state Department of Justice, interviewed Alberts on Dec. 15, 2007, the day that Park’s body was found.
“He wasn’t sure of particular dates,” Rindt said, noting that he used a calendar to help jog Alberts’ memory.
In his initial report on his interview with Alberts, Rindt wrote that Alberts said he found the envelope on Magolski’s door on Dec. 12.
However, the calendar Rindt used to help Alberts remember dates has Dec. 10 as the date when Alberts found the envelope.
Rindt said the date on his report was an error that he corrected in a revised report on July 28, 2011.
Special Agent James Holmes interviewed Alberts on Dec. 16, 2007. He provided a more detailed account of Alberts’ attempts to collect Magolski’s rent payment in December 2007.
Holmes said Alberts went to Magolski’s apartment on Dec. 1, knocked on the door but did not get a response. Alberts returned on Dec. 4 and spoke with Magolski, who said to come back on Dec. 10.
Holmes also questioned Magolski. During that interview, Magolski indicated he would borrow money from his employer, Graichin Sanitation, to pay the rent.
The owner of the company, Lynn Graichin, testified that he terminated Magolski because he was an unreliable employee and would not have loaned money to him.
Based on testimony Monday from Michael Jones and from Holmes Tuesday, Magolski apparently spent much of Sunday, Dec. 9, at Michael Jones’ apartment, watching the Green Bay Packers game and then some movies. Magolski left Jones’ apartment, which is located across the hall from his own, at approximately 1:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10.
New London Police Officer Brady Peterson testified about what he found when he was called shortly after 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 to 301 N. Shawano St. to conduct a welfare check on James Park.
Peterson said Alberts unlocked the door, and he went into Park’s apartment.
“He was partially laying on his back, partially under the table. I could tell he was deceased for some time,” Peterson said. “It appeared there had been a struggle in the apartment.”
Peterson said there was broken furniture on the floor. A second officer, Tom Algiers, came to the scene, They notified their supervisors and the coroner.
“Another man came up and said he hadn’t heard from his son in a few days,” Peterson said, noting that they already had one suspicious death in the building and were concerned there may be another.
The man Peterson met at the scene was the defendant’s father, Gerald Magolski. He had knocked at Chad’s door earlier that morning, but nobody had answered.
The officers, the landlord and Gerald Magolski went upstairs to Chad Magolski’s apartment. They knocked on the door, but nobody answered. Alberts unlocked the door.
“I started to open the door about eight to 10 inches,” Peterson said. “The door was wedged shut from the inside by a chair.”
Peterson said he could see Magolski getting up and getting dressed.
“He appeared nervous and was shaking,” Peterson said.
Gerald Magolski testified that the door to his son’s apartment was broken.
“I asked him why the chair was behind the door and he said it was because someone had tried to break in and it was broke,” he said, adding that although the door was locked, the door and frame could be pushed in due to the damage.