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Date set for Rachwal trial

Sterling Rachwal in Brown County court, May 3, 2017. (WLUK/Ben Krumholz)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) – Sterling Rachwal added a plea Tuesday of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect for allegedly mistreating a horse at an Eaton farm.

Rachwal will go to trial Dec. 6 on three misdemeanor counts: intentionally mistreating an animal, disorderly conduct, and obstructing an officer.

Deputies were called to a ranch on the town of Eaton in February for a suspicious person complaint, after the owner saw someone leaving a barn. Police found the horse bleeding.

Rachwal also faces trial in Manitowoc County, currently scheduled for Dec. 14, on misdemeanor counts of intentionally mistreating an animal and disorderly conduct for an April 29 incident.

In that case, there was trail camera video showing a horse being assaulted by someone that appears to be Rachwal, but he did not admit it was him.

Brown County Assistant District Attorney Dana Johnson said Tuesday prosecutors plan to ask the court to combine the Manitowoc and Brown county cases into one file in Brown County. The court gave him until Oct. 24 to file an amended criminal complaint.

Rachwal has a lengthy history of cases involving horses. He was convicted mistreatment of animals in 1983 and 1984 in Waupaca County and in Outagamie County in 1988.

In 1993 in Monroe County and 1996 in Waupaca County, Rachwal was convicted of mistreatment of animals - specifically horses - but in both cases he was then found not guilty due to mental disease or defect. He has previously spent time incarcerated and in state mental health facilities due to these cases.

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