A man who was high on methamphetamine in January when he broke into a mobile home where a 78-year-old woman lived alone and struck her repeatedly was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison.
Dane County Circuit Judge Nicholas McNamara told Joshua Radewan, 33, of Stoughton, that earlier brushes with the law that involved drug abuse and violence should have been “wake-up calls” that forced him to make changes in his life that would have prevented the Jan. 9 incident in which a paranoid and delusional Radewan forced his way into the woman’s town of Dunn home, beat her and left the home in shambles.
“While I do firmly believe you had a sobering wake-up experience in everything that happened here,” McNamara said, “there were other times for such a wake-up call. I don’t know how you could have gotten to this point and not had a profound need to make changes.”
Radewan pleaded guilty in April to aggravated battery, criminal damage to property and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Radewan did not know the woman he attacked. According to a criminal complaint, she was in her bedroom when Radewan forced his way inside and began hitting her, then began destroying the inside of her home. She fled to her daughter’s home down the street. When police arrived, they found Radewan still inside the home. He damaged the inside of a Dane County Sheriff’s Office squad car on the way to jail.
According to a state Department of Corrections pre-sentence report, quoted in a sentencing memorandum by Radewan’s lawyer, state Assistant Public Defender Crystal Vera, Radewan said he was mentally unstable and high at the time. He had been using drugs at a friend’s house nearby before fleeing to the woman’s home.
“I thought that there were people in (my friend’s) house trying to kill me and were trying to chase me,” he said. “I jumped out of the window of his home and ran to the first trailer that I saw lit up. Once I was inside, I was trying to hide but there was someone inside. I thought it was a trap and had to fight my way out.”
The woman told the DOC report writer that Radewan “walked around my house like he owned the damned thing,” Assistant District Attorney Jessica Miller said. Miller asked for a two-year prison sentence and said the victim, who was in court but declined to speak, agreed with that request.
Vera asked for probation or a shorter jail sentence, arguing that it was unlikely that Radewan would get the help he needs in prison and that his mental health problems could become worse. She said Radewan has accepted responsibility from the start.
Radewan apologized in court, and in a letter to McNamara, he called the incident “my life’s greatest failure,” blaming mental and physical exhaustion from overwork and mental instability. He wrote that he wanted a second chance.
But McNamara said Radewan failed after two earlier misdemeanor convictions to get the kind of help he needed, and failed to see the woman as a person during his rampage at her home.
“You can’t do what you did to this innocent person and just go home,” McNamara said. “You can’t do what you did to this stranger and just go back to your life as if it never happened.”