Family sues over death of Edgerton woman
Shaun and Jenni were married October 20, 2007. Both died in a murder-suicide between the night of August 17th and the morning of August 18th, 2008.
The Vordermann murder-suicide story with audio from 911 tapes, family, and local officials.
MADISON Edgerton police and Rock County Crisis Intervention workers are to blame for the death of an Edgerton woman killed by her husband, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the woman’s family.
Attorneys for Jenni Vordermann’s family on Tuesday filed suit in U.S. District Court in Madison, according to online court documents.
Edgerton police found Vordermann, 24, and her husband, Shaun, 25, dead in their bedroom at 39 Mildred Ave., Edgerton, the morning of Aug. 18.
According to Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach, Shaun shot his wife and himself sometime after 10 p.m. the previous day.
Edgerton police had been called to the Vordermann home several times in the weeks and days before their deaths.
Rock County Crisis Intervention workers had evaluated Shaun less than 36 hours before the two were found dead. After his evaluation, Shaun was released to a family member, even though Edgerton police officers told Jenni that Shaun “would be in custody until at least Monday (Aug. 18),” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit lists four people and a “John Doe” as defendants in addition to the city and the county:
-- Edgerton police officers Michael Williams and Christian Chilson. The two officers responded to the Vordermann home at 10:30 p.m. Aug. 16.
They were responding to a 911 call Jenni placed from Madison. Jenni was scared to go home because Shaun had a gun, according to dispatch records obtained by the Gazette.
Shaun had tried contacting his wife 178 times that day. He was threatening to burn her clothes or to shoot himself, family members told the Gazette.
Shaun was worried because Jenni hadn’t been home for several days, family members said.
When Williams and Chilson arrived, it looked like Shaun was barricading himself in the house, according to police reports obtained by the Gazette.
The officers forced Shaun out of the house at gunpoint. They found Shaun’s gun in the basement, where Shaun told them they’d find it.
They called Jenni to come home and take care of the couple’s dogs, even though she had said she didn’t want to come home.
The officers read numerous text messages from Shaun’s cell phone to friends and family.
Before transporting Shaun to Rock County Crisis Intervention, the officers asked Jenni if she wanted them to take the gun.
She said, “yes,” but the officers instead told her to keep it.
Jenni asked the officers about getting a restraining order. They told her nothing could be done until Monday but she shouldn’t worry because Shaun would be in custody until that time.
The officers’ actions “created or increased the danger to Jennifer Vordermann that ultimately and proximately caused her death,” the lawsuit stated.
-- Edgerton Police Chief Tom Klubertanz. Klubertanz failed to provide adequate training to officers about domestic violence, stalking behaviors or emergency detentions. He failed to create policies requiring officers to inform interested parties when a subject is released from emergency detention, according to the lawsuit.
An emergency detention works like an arrest. Police use emergency detentions to take people into custody to prevent them from harming themselves or others.
“This failure to provide adequate training was a proximate cause of the death of Jennifer Vordermann,” according to the lawsuit.
-- Rock County Crisis Intervention worker Terry Murphy and “John Doe No. 1.” Murphy was the crisis intervention worker who evaluated Shaun, and “John Doe” is the crisis intervention supervisor who was in charge the night Shaun was evaluated, according to the lawsuit.
After dropping off Shaun, Williams left the Rock County Health Care Center at 1:51 a.m. Aug. 17, according to the lawsuit.
Nine minutes later, Williams reported that Murphy called to say she had completed Shaun’s evaluation, that the emergency detention was being dismissed and that Shaun was being released to a family member in Milton.
Murphy and the crisis manager failed to follow policy and procedure for mental health evaluations and dismissal of emergency detentions, according to the lawsuit.
The suit seeks damages, attorneys fees and other relief approved by the court.
The suit does not seek a dollar amount, although the notice of claim filed in December with the county and Edgerton stated the family wanted $2.9 million.
Rock County had not been served with a copy of the lawsuit as of late Wednesday afternoon, corporation counsel Jeff Kuglitsch said.
The Gazette was unable to reach Klubertanz, a spokesperson for the city of Edgerton or spokesperson for Rock County Crisis Intervention on Wednesday afternoon.
Shaun’s family does not plan to file a lawsuit, Shaun’s mother Nancy Haferman told the Gazette.