A Milwaukee man with a long criminal history has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of his wife. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 49-year-old James Hutchins shot his wife, Tyvitta Dischler, in front of their 5-year-old son, whose skull he fractured. He then set her on fire while she was still alive. The attack took place just days after the wife had sought and was denied a restraining order against her husband.
Hutchins' history of violence stretches over 30 years, according to Milwaukee’s TMJ 4 News. It includes a 1986 sexual assault charge, two arrests for felony possession of a firearm, fleeing in a hit and run accident, and a battery charge from 1998. Police discovered his latest rampage Wednesday, after Hutchins’ sister took his son to an area emergency room. He had dropped the boy off earlier in the day, and she had noticed bruises on his head, as well as bleeding.
When nurses asked the boy how he had gotten hurt, he said "Daddy hit me with a gun, mom and dad were arguing and dad shot mom." Hospital staff then called police, who interviewed the boy. "My momma stood in front of the gun and my daddy killed my momma,” he told them. “Will you put my daddy in jail?" he asked.
Police went to the couple’s home, where they found Dischler's dead body. She had been shot twice in the head and burns covered 60% of her body. An autoposy found soot and discoloration in her airway, indicating she was still alive when she was set on fire.
In a subsequent interview with the boy, he said his father was “really mad” when he shot his mother. Then he threw the boy to the ground, causing the skull fracture. As Hutchins’ dragged his son to his sister’s house, the boy claims he heard his father say to his mother “When I get back I am going to finish you off."
According to the wife's father, Todd Dischler, Tyvitta had been trying to divorce her husband after years of abuse. She had sought a restraining order against Hutchins, which was denied after a hearing May 10, according to court records. Two days before her death, she had asked another judge to rehear her petition, which had been scheduled for June 22. “My oldest kid, gone because a court system and a police system didn't work," Todd Dischler said in an interview with TMJ4. James Hutchins is currently being held in Milwaukee County Jail on $250,000 bail. If convicted of the current charges, he faces mandatory life in prison.
[Photo: Milwaukee Police Department]