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Petition for release filed for man charged in Vine Street murder

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The man who was committed a mental health facility after investigators say he killed his neighbor with a crowbar in Eau Claire has petitioned for a conditional release.

Eau Claire County District Attorney Gary King tells WEAU 13 News that he received a notice for a hearing in the case of James Olson, 53, on Tuesday. King said, in cases like this, the court would typically appoint an examiner, who would provide a report on the case prior to the hearing.

Olson's neighbor, Paul Oberle, 39, was found dead in his yard on Vine Street in June 2012. He had just returned home from working an overnight shift at a grocery store. Prosecutors filed a murder charge against Olson. In April 2013, he entered a guilty plea, but was found Guilty but Not Guilty Due to Mental Disease or Defect, and committed to the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison.

King says a similar petition was filed for Olson in October 2013, and a hearing was held in December 2013. His release was denied. Wisconsin law allows a court to grant conditional release for someone who is committed if at least six months have gone by since the court ordered their confinement and their most recent petition for release has been denied. It's unclear where Olson would end up or when if the request is granted. King says the court would typically come up with a plan in cases like this. "I'm not even thinking about that," he said.

The hearing is scheduled for September 11.


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