Darrick Anderson

Darrick Anderson, right, with his lawyer, Tim Kiefer, appears in court in April for a preliminary hearing. 

A man who is charged with stabbing another man to death in his Downtown apartment in March was charged Wednesday with two separate attempts to escape from the Dane County Jail within the past three weeks.

Two criminal complaints against Darrick E. Anderson, 24, of Columbus, indicate that those attempts didn’t get very far at all. But after the most recent attempt, according to one of the complaints, Anderson told a Dane County sheriff’s detective that he was “trying to go home,” and that he wanted to get out “pretty bad.”

In one of the attempts, on May 24, a complaint states, Anderson hid in a shower stall at the jail. Attempts to find him were unsuccessful until jail staff reviewed recordings of video monitors and saw that Anderson went into the shower area, which is out of camera range, and then wasn’t seen on camera again.

Anderson appeared in court Wednesday in a restraint chair with his ankles shackled, wearing a suicide prevention smock, and guarded by extra sheriff’s deputies. His lawyer, Tim Kiefer, said that Anderson has “a mental health issue” and has been held in solitary confinement.

“I have no special proposal,” Kiefer said, “but what we’re doing now isn’t in his best interest.”

Court Commissioner Brian Asmus said he didn’t have the authority to tell the sheriff’s office how to manage inmates.

Anderson was charged in April with first-degree intentional homicide for the March 27 stabbing death of Andrew Nesbitt, 46, at Nesbitt’s apartment on North Butler Street. Dane County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Vincent Tranchida testified at a hearing in April that Nesbitt suffered 70 knife wounds.

Anderson has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to the murder charge.

According to the complaints filed Wednesday:

On May 24, deputies began looking for Anderson about 11 a.m. after he appeared not to have come out of his cell at the City-County Building for a canteen delivery. He was not in his cell, though. Deputies looked for him at all possible locations he could be before reviewing video footage and seeing that he had gone into the shower area hours earlier.

After Anderson was found squatting in the shower area, he was taken back to his cell, where a deputy interviewed him. He initially wore a sheet draped over his head. Asked why he was in the shower, Anderson said it was because the other inmates annoyed him.

He said he planned to try to dash into a hallway from the shower, “but you guys kept closing the door so I could not.” While his plan initially was just to run into the hallway, he said his eventual plan was to escape from jail.

On June 5, Anderson bolted from a deputy who was doing a security check of Anderson’s cell block. He got down a hallway but was stymied when he couldn’t find another unlocked door from there and was captured after some initial resistance.

The next day, Anderson told a detective he was trying to get out and go home to his family.


Ed Treleven is the courts reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.