La Crosse homicide suspect released on $10,000 cash bond

35-year-old Karvel Freeman of Madison, Wis. was released from La Crosse County Jail after posting bond on Friday, Aug. 12.
Karvel Freeman
Karvel Freeman(La Crosse Co. jail)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 3:34 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - A man charged with homicide in La Crosse County is released from jail on a $10,000 cash bond, which had been previously reduced from $500,000 and again from $200,000, according to online court records.

35-year-old Karvel Freeman of Madison, Wis. was released from La Crosse County Jail after posting bond on Friday, Aug. 12.

Freeman was one of two people charged in the shooting death of Ernest Knox, who was killed Jan. 8 in La Crosse. Knox was 36 years old at the time of his death. Freeman was also charged in March with 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety. Another suspect charged in the shooting, Nelson Brown of Rockford, Ill., has not been taken into custody.

Freeman was arrested in March in Tennessee as a suspect in the murder. His bond was initially set at $500,000, but in June was lowered to $200,000 with a condition that Freeman would be subject to house arrest and GPS monitoring. On Aug. 10, Freeman requested to be allowed to return to Tennessee, but the court ruled that Freeman needed to remain in Wisconsin and lowered bond to $10,000. Conditions of the bond include no possession of weapons, no contact with witnesses or the victim’s family, no contact with homes or businesses in the area of the shooting in La Crosse, and house arrest and GPS monitoring. A court order was issued on Tuesday that Freeman would be allowed to live in Milwaukee County, according to online court records.

According to court documents filed with the charges, on Jan. 8, a La Crosse Police Department officer was nearby when he heard gunshots on the 700 block of Rose Street on La Crosse’s Lower North Side at 2:27 a.m. When officers came to the scene they found a man who had been shot in the chest and wasn’t moving, Ernest Knox. Knox died less than an hour later at Gundersen Hospital, according to the criminal complaint. An autopsy confirmed the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the chest. One witness said they believed Knox was shot from three or four feet away.

According to the criminal complaint, police found a driver’s license at the scene belonging to Karvel Freeman, and investigators learned he had been shot in the leg. Freeman sought treatment in Madison later on the morning of the shooting. Witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and that two people had been shot after an argument during a party in an apartment. A witness said Knox was trying to calm down Freeman before the shooting happened, noticing that Freeman tapped Brown on the hip as what the witness believed to be a signal to shoot. The witness said he “possibly” saw a third gun other than the ones Freeman and Brown were holding through a doorway.

Another witness said that Freeman’s behavior seemed “off” while another said Freeman was “acting crazy” that night, according to court documents filed with the charges. A third witness said that Freeman had a state that ‘intimidated him.’ Multiple witnesses said that Knox was attempting to deescalate the situation, which was in part caused by Freeman knocking over an item in the apartment and refusing to pick it up. Another witness said Freeman was upset over someone at the party telling his wife that another woman was dancing on him. A police officer saw Freeman and Brown flee with a third person in a black SUV, and also saw three people running from the back of the building on foot.

Freeman is scheduled to appear in court on Sep. 2 for a hearing.

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