Altoona homicide suspect appears in court, preliminary hearing postponed

46-year-old Brandon Gaston is one of two people charged with 1st-degree intentional homicide in the death of an Altoona man.
Brandon Gaston in Court
Brandon Gaston in Court(WEAU)
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 11:00 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - One of the two people charged in the death of an Altoona man appeared in Eau Claire County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing Tuesday, however, the preliminary hearing was postponed.

46-year-old Brandon Gaston of Rockford, Ill. was charged with 1st-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse as a party to a crime on Sept. 15.

Gaston and 55-year-old Tracey Clark of Altoona were charged after a lengthy investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Altoona Police Department, in the death of 79-year-old Dennis Schattie of Altoona. Shattie’s body was found in the Rock River in Rockford on April 12.

In April, Altoona Police Chief Kelly Bakken described the investigation as “complex” and that the case involved multiple jurisdictions. In July, the Altoona Police Department named both Clark and Gaston as suspects in the case. The July release indicated the homicide took place in the City of Altoona and that “numerous” evidence items had been collected. Police described the homicide as “financially-motivated.” According to court documents filed with the charges, investigators believe Clark and Gaston were in an apparent relationship going back at least as far as October of 2020. Clark told investigators that she had been living with Schattie since 2019 and had known him for about 22 years.

A $1 million cash bond was set for both suspects in earlier court appearances, with conditions that they not contact each other or members of Schattie’s family. Gaston is being held at the Eau Claire County Jail. Clark is being held at Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Fond du Lac after her extended supervision was revoked in an unrelated case. Clark is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 18.