Felony charge dropped in knife incident

FLORENCE, Wis. – A felony charge against an Aurora, Wis. man accused of threatening his sister with a knife has been dropped.

Lee Anthony Franck, 51, no longer faces a felony count of reckless endangerment-second degree.

However, he is still facing misdemeanor counts of endangering safety with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct.

The decision came following a preliminary examination in Florence County Court this week.

Both Franck’s sister and her husband testified at the hearing.

They testified that they were visiting her and Franck’s parents’ home in Aurora on June 22.

The sister said that she and her father were discussing selling the home and dividing the money between her, Franck, and their other siblings.

According to the sister and her husband, this discussion enraged Franck, who had been in another room sharpening his knife. Franck then came into the room, without the knife, and started yelling at his sister, they added.

They further testified that Franck left the room, but came back a short time later with the knife. They stated that he was holding the knife at his side with the blade pointed at his sister as he walked toward her.

The sister’s husband testified that at that point, he threatened to shoot Franck. His gun was in another room and not loaded, he added.

When the sister’s husband said that he would shoot when Franck was not expecting it, Franck called 911 and reported the threat.

Deputies arrived on scene and took Franck into custody instead.

Florence County District Attorney Douglas Drexler felt that the facts of the case constituted reckless endangerment.

“We’ve shown that the defendant was angered, had a knife, and was walking toward his sister with the blade exposed,” he said.

Franck’s attorney Lisa Brouillette argued that her client’s actions did not amount to a felony charge. She pointed out that the angle of the knife was in question, and that the sister admitted that she was not in fear for her life.

Judge Leon D. Stenz agreed with Brouillette.

“All we know is that he was angry and had a knife,” said Judge Stenz. “There’s no evidence that he threatened her or even waved it.”

Judge Stenz found that there was no probable cause to believe that a felony had been committed. He accepted Franck’s not guilty pleas on the misdemeanor charges, then scheduled him for a pre-trial on Sept. 3.

Drexler is still free to bring additional charges against Franck.

For now, Franck’s bond has been reduced from a $2,500 cash bond to a $3,000 signature bond.

In other Florence County Court action:

– Gary Alfred Nabbefeldt, 59, of Kingsford was bound over for trial on felony operating while intoxicated charges.

He will appear in court for an arraignment on July 15.

Nabbefeldt faces one felony count of operating while intoxicated-fourth offense in five years, one felony count of operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration-fourth offense in five years, one felony count of possession of marijuana-second or subsequent offense, and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

If convicted on all counts, he could spend up to 15 and a half years in prison.

The charges against Nabbefeldt stem from a May 10 incident in Aurora, Wis.

According to the criminal complaint in the case, officers from the Kingsford Public Safety Department (KPS) attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Nabbefeldt’s vehicle after he allegedly ran a stop sign in Kingsford.

Officers claimed that Nabbefeldt did not stop until he was across the border in Aurora.

A preliminary breath test (PBT) showed a value of .16.

In addition, authorities found a smoking device with marijuana on Nabbefeldt.

– Drug charges were dismissed against 33-year-old Kristen Ann Nelson of Florence.

She had faced one felony count of possession of narcotic drugs and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia for allegedly possessing morphine without a valid prescription.

Drexler said that he will be re-filing the same charges at a later date.