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PdC man bound over for trial in 2006 death

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Michael John Burroughs
Michael John Burroughs

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN — Michael Burroughs apparently believed he was being poisoned when he showed up at the police station and told investigators he killed his occasional girlfriend four years earlier because she stole his drugs.

That confession was scrutinized at a court hearing Friday, as it is the basis for a homicide charge against Burroughs in connection with the December 2006 disappearance of 23-year-old Shannon Fischer.

Police have yet to find the Prairie du Chien woman’s body, but Investigator Stacy Polodna said the search for her remains has focused on a 50,000-square-foot section of the Deer Track Park landfill in Watertown, Wis.

When questioned in 2006, Burroughs told police he hadn’t seen Fischer since he kicked her out of the apartment. Her disappearance confounded authorities until his confession Oct. 10.

Polodna, one of two investigators assigned to the case, detailed that confession at a preliminary hearing in Crawford County Circuit Court.

According to Polodna’s testimony, the 26-year-old Burroughs told police he and Fischer got into an argument Dec. 18, 2006, when he came out of the shower and discovered a bag of crystal meth missing from his pocket.

Fischer was sitting at a computer when he put her in a headlock and yanked her to the floor, holding her against his chest as he choked her from behind with his arm, Burroughs told police.

“He hears footsteps outside the door,” Polodna said. “At that point Shannon is not fighting. He starts to panic. He believes his roommates are coming home.”

Nobody was there.

Burroughs said he wrapped Fischer’s body in a blanket and put her in a closet. A day or so later, he pulled her out and found the meth in her bra, he said. Another day or two passed before Burroughs wrapped her body in six garbage bags, sealed them with duct tape and dumped the body in the trash bin behind his apartment at 207 Blackhawk Ave.

Under questioning from public defender Rose Oliveto, Polodna conceded that police searched the apartment in 2006 and 2007 but found no evidence of Fischer’s death.

Oliveto also questioned

Sgt. Kyle Teynor, who said he interviewed Burroughs in the doorway of his apartment Dec. 28, 2006, more than a week after police say Burroughs disposed of her body.

“You didn’t notice any unusual smell?” she asked.

“I did not.”

Oliveto indicated her client was high at the time he claims to have killed Fischer and suggested he was paranoid when he confessed.

“Did he not tell you the reason he came into the police department was feelings of being poisoned or other mental health problems?”

“That became apparent,” Polodna said.

Judge James Czajkowski determined Burroughs’ admissions were plausible enough to find probable cause. He bound him over for trial on charges of first degree reckless homicide and hiding a corpse. The homicide charge carries a maximum 60-year sentence.

Burroughs, jailed on a $250,000 bond, was in the courtroom Friday but did not speak during the 40-minute hearing. He is scheduled to enter a plea Wednesday.

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