Jury asked to determine victim
Roe, Dake both presented as abusers
By Robert Cloud
To determine Alison Roe’s guilt in the March 6, 2015, stabbing death of Craig Dake, jurors must decide which of them was the abuser and which the abused.
In opening statements Tuesday, the prosecution and defense provided two contrasting perspectives on Roe and Dake.
However, both sides agree that the relationship was tumultuous.
Waupaca County District Attorney Veronica Isherwood said the couple fought constantly and they both drank too much.
The two began dating in late 2013 or early 2014, Isherwood said. In December 2013, Dake moved to Florida to help a friend start a business. He returned to Wisconsin in August 2014.
Dake and Roe lived together in Ohskosh shortly after Dake returned from Florida, then moved into an apartment in Fremont.
For several days in early March, Daked moved in with friends in a downtown Waupaca apartment while he worked on a construction job in the Amherst area.
On the night of March 5, Roe picked up Dake at the Waupaca apartment and drove him back to Fremont. On the way there, they stopped and Dake purchased a bottle of vodka, Roe told investigators.
Describing Roe’s account of that night, Isherwood said they argued in the bedroom after Roe asked Dake why they were no longer having sex.
“She tells the story that Craig went out to the living room to watch TV,” Isherwood said, adding that Roe then went into the kitchen, took a kitchen knife from a butcher block set and carried it to the bedroom.
According to Roe’s version of the incident, Dake entered the bedroom, calls her “slut” and “whore,” then punched her in the mouth.
Roe told investigators that Dake choked her with one hand, then flipped her over face down into a pillow in a chokehold.
She reached over to the nightstand, grabbed the knife and swung her arm back and to the side, stabbing him once in the chest.
“One stab wound directly into the center of his chest, no upward or downward movement,” Isherwood said.
Dake walked to the bathroom, then back to the bedroom, then to the bathroom again, Roe told police. She followed Dake into the bathroom the second time and initially thought he was faking it.
Roe then went to her daughter’s home in Weyauwega, and used her daughter’s cellphone to call 911 about 45 minutes after the stabbing incident.
Isherwood said Roe claimed she could not call 911 from her apartment because she had no phone there.
Investigators found three cellphones in the apartment, including one on the bed where the stabbing allegedly took place.
Troy Nielsen, who is the public defender representing Roe, told the jury that none of the cellphones had service.
During testimony Tuesday, Capt. Rob Karski with the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office testified that forensics analysis of the three phones found that all of them were able to call 911.
“There were seven other apartments in the building. She could have knocked on their doors,” Isherwood said. “You can see the police station across a field from the front of her apartment building.”
Instead of calling 911, Roe drove from Fremont to Weyauwega to her daughter’s home before placing the call to 911.
Forensics analysis of Roe’s daughter’s phone found that it was used to call Roe’s other daughter at 2:33 a.m. the call to the 911 operator was placed at 2:44 a.m.
“She didn’t go to get help for Craig, she left to figure out what to do,” Isherwood said.
Isherwood also told the jury that Roe changed her clothes twice before leaving the house.
Isherwood argued that testimony would show that Roe, not Dake, was physically abusive and told her friends she wanted to “just go home and stab Craig.”
“She talked about being choked, but never called police,” Isherwood said. “He called police on her.”
“‘Craig, please stop hitting me. Craig, please stop choking me,’” Nielsen said to the jury. “Think how desperate a relationship is when you have to say, ‘I’m afraid.’”
Nielsen said Roe was desperate for help and reached out to one of Dake’s friends.
Dake had gone to Florida from December 2013 to February 2014 to help a friend, Matt Ferdinand, start a business.
Roe began sending Ferdinand text messages about Dake being violent.
On Feb. 3, 2015, Roe texted Ferdinand and said she hit Dake with a broom.
On Feb. 8, 2015, Roe texted Ferdinand that Dake had choked her multiple times. That same night, Dake calls police and reports that Roe hit him with a broom that night.
“She’s getting beaten and choked regularly by her boyfriend,” Nielsen said.
Ferdinand has a phone call with Dake on Feb. 15 and discusses the choking, Nielsen said.
Later, Roe calls Ferdinand and asks: “Did Craig tell you the truth?”
Ferdinand sends a text message: “He did. He’s sorry. give him another chance.”
“She did not want to be beaten, she did not want to be choked,” Nielsen said. “Ali tried a last ditch effort.”
Nielsen said during their relationship, Dake depended on Roe.
“He was working sporadically,” Nielsen said, noting that money from Roe’s student grant paid the rent for December 2014, while the rent went unpaid January through March of 2015.
“They have one vehicle they share – that’s Ali’s. They have one cellphone they share – that’s Ali’s,” Nielsen said. “Craig is mooching off Ali.”
Nielsen described Roe as a victim of ongoing abuse who was acting in self-defense on the night Dake died.
He argued that the evidence matches with Roe’s account of what happened that night.
“We’ve got to stop blaming the victim here. She felt like she was going to die,” Nielsen said. “It’s Craig’s fault that he’s dead.