By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ex-inmate arrested for teen's death in county jail
Placeholder Image
MONROE - More than two years after 17-year-old Kyle Peotter died of a methadone overdose while incarcerated in the Green County Jail, a fellow inmate at the time, Danny Douglas Mitchell II, was arrested Tuesday in Marquette County for causing the teen's death.

Mitchell, 44, Montello, was charged Tuesday and a warrant was issued on charges of a Class C felony of first-degree reckless homicide by delivery of a controlled substance, a Class I felony of delivering illegal articles to an inmate, and a Class D felony of intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a child resulting in death.

Mitchell was taken into custody without incident, according to the Green County district attorney's office, and he will be transported to Green County for an initial appearance at a later date.

District Attorney Gary Luhman and local law enforcement agencies have been investigating since Peotter's death in January of 2013 under a secret John Doe investigation. Luhman wrote in a news release that prior to issuing a warrant for Mitchell's arrest, a motion was filed with the Green County Circuit Court to release a part of the information from the John Doe investigation so the information could be used in the criminal complaint.

Luhman said building the case took a lot of time but that he is "not at liberty to discuss" most of the details of the investigation.

"I can't see us seeking more witnesses for the John Doe," Luhman said. "Normally once a charge is issued, you wouldn't continue investigations."

The criminal complaint filed against Mitchell alleges he gave Peotter the drug that ultimately led to his death. Peotter was found unresponsive and not breathing in his jail cell the morning of Jan. 30, 2013. The complaint says Mitchell was confined in the same cellblock as Peotter since the evening of Jan. 28, 2013 after he turned himself in to the Green County Jail on a probation hold.

The criminal complaint further says that while in the Green County jail, Mitchell possessed loose-leaf chewing tobacco and prescription narcotic methadone - a synthetic opiate used to treat severe chronic pain and heroin dependence - without jail staff's knowledge. Mitchell allegedly gave Peotter the Schedule II narcotic.

An autopsy performed at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison confirmed that Peotter died from a methadone overdose.

Court records indicate Mitchell and Peotter were the only two inmates in cellblock B from Jan. 28, 2013 until Peotter's death. Peotter had not left the jail since his incarceration in September 2012, although he met with his mother three times with no physical contact between them.

A Green County deputy pored through the 36 hours of video recording at the jail and found multiple allegedly suspicious actions by both Peotter and Mitchell. After Mitchell was incarcerated, he put a blanket over the cell door, blocking surveillance footage. The blanket was later taken down after jail staff warned Mitchell to stop. Mitchell and Peotter proceeded to pass a book back and forth, being careful to keep the binding facing down, according to the deputy, who suspected something was hidden in the book. The deputy also noted that throughout the night and into the early morning of Jan. 29, 2013, Peotter and Mitchell crouch over shelves in the jail and inhaled a substance.

Mitchell was not strip-searched after he was booked, because state law prohibits strip searches of inmates who are non-sentenced or on probation holds. Mitchell, however, said that he was strip searched. A relative of Mitchell's later told law enforcement that Mitchell admitted to giving Peotter the methadone. Mitchell denied all accusations of supplying the narcotic to Peotter.

Mitchell was prescribed oxycodone and methadone on Jan. 23, 2013 for treatment of his chronic back and neck pain, according to court records.

Court records also show that after Mitchell discovered Peotter's body and after shaking him several times, he reached into Peotter's mattress and pulled out an item, according to the deputy's observations. Mitchell then pushed the emergency button on the jail cell alerting the jailers. Mitchell went into his cell, put the item under his mattress and then pulled it out and threw it into a toilet and flushed his toilet a couple of times.

When deputies searched the jail cells a bag containing alleged chewing tobacco was found crammed into a small gap in the top corner of Mitchell's cell. A baggie containing methadone was not found. A deputy forced a skinny rod down the bars of a cell and found a pill wrapped in paper, but it was falling apart and the deputy wrote in his report that it could be very old and unrelated to this case. White powdery residue was found on the shelves of both cells and was sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, which determined the substance was methadone.

Court records state Mitchell and Peotter both repeatedly rubbed their noses and scratched their bodies throughout the night of the incident. On Jan. 29, 2013, Peotter repeatedly appeared to be vomiting in his cell's toilet, according to the deputy's observations of video surveillance.

A civil suit brought against local and state government agencies by Peotter's mother and stepfather, Amber and Michael DeGraff, was postponed in February awaiting a conclusion of the John Doe investigation. Calls to both attorneys in the civil suit were not returned Wednesday afternoon.

Peotter was incarcerated in September 2012 for a felony charge of vehicle theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His arrest came after a number of run-ins with Monroe police for minor infractions, including drawing graffiti and being disorderly.

If convicted for the maximum penalty on all counts, Mitchell could face up to 89 1/2 years in prison, or $210,000 in fines or both.