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Nathan Leopold

Nathan Leopold, right, received the maximum five years in prison for violating his probation from a previous traffic homicide. He has not yet been charged in a second crash.

A Janesville man, awaiting formal charges for a head-on crash last month in Green County that killed a 70-year-old Juda man and injured a 12-year-old girl, was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for a 2003 bail jumping conviction tied to an earlier traffic homicide case.

Nathan L. Leopold, 44, had been on probation for the bail jumping conviction, for drinking alcohol in violation of his bail while he awaited the outcome of a traffic homicide case in which he struck and killed a jogger near Mount Horeb, then fled.

Ultimately, Leopold was sentenced to seven years and seven months in prison, followed by about five years of extended supervision, for the April 2002 death of Aimee Kubler, 28.

Soon after that, Leopold was sentenced to seven years of probation for the bail jumping conviction, which was to begin after he finished the sentence he received for Kubler’s death. As of Oct. 20, Leopold still had about five years of probation left to serve when he was involved in the fatal head-on crash in Green County that killed David Leck and injured Emily Withee.

No charges have been filed yet in that case, but the state Department of Corrections revoked Leopold’s probation after he admitted to his probation agent that before the crash he drank alcohol and used marijuana and synthetic marijuana, then drove after using those substances, according to court documents.

Leopold faced up to five years in prison and five years of extended supervision on the bail jumping revocation, and Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky said that among the bail jumping cases that she sees, this was a case that deserved the maximum.

“In some instances it’s appropriate to sentence someone to the maximum based on the context, and that’s this case,” Karofsky said.

Leopold’s lawyer, state Assistant Public Defender Jon Helland, argued for no more than a year in prison. He said that while the bail jumping case is tied to the Kubler tragedy, it is a separate infraction in which Leopold was caught having had alcohol, in violation of his bail conditions, after four months of consistently passing three breath tests per day.

Helland also argued that Leopold shouldn’t be sentenced based on an incident for which he is yet to be charged, and another for which he has already served his sentence.

Assistant District Attorney Jim Quattromani said that both instances deserved to be taken into account, especially after Leopold heard Kubler’s family speak during his 2003 sentencing hearing.

“He knew the impact of his conduct,” Quattromani said, “and he did it again anyway.”

Leopold declined an opportunity to speak.

Members of Kubler’s family came to court and spoke about the years without her, and the impact that her death has had on them, even 15 years later.

Barry Stamm, Kubler’s brother, in a statement read by his aunt, Karen Miller, wrote that he’s never been able to speak about what happened to his sister.

Kubler’s father, Norman Stamm, spoke at length about the joy his daughter brought the world, and how difficult and different his world was after she was killed.

“I can’t tell you how odd it feels to be here 15 years later,” he said. “Never in my lifetime would I think that something like this could even happen. But here we are again, after 15 years.”

Stamm closed by quoting, without comment, the words of Leopold’s lawyer, Stephen Mays, spoken at Leopold’s 2003 sentencing hearing: “ ‘I ask that you take into consideration everything he has now done to rehabilitate himself, to assure the court and this society that he is not going to be a risk anymore.’ ”


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