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Wisconsin Man Charged With Axe Murder Of Grandmother’s Husband Days After Being Told To Move Out

“I hit him with an axe... I don't know what's going on,” Wayne Aspseter told 911 dispatchers after allegedly attacking Bernard Waite.

By Dorian Geiger
Man Accused In Axe Murder Of Grandmother’s Husband

A Wisconsin man has been accused of killing his grandmother’s husband earlier this month after the man bought the grandson a bus ticket out of town days earlier, expecting him to move out of the home where they were living.

Wayne Aspseter, 36, is accused of the murder of Bernard Waite, 87, and the attempted murder of two others, following the June 6 incident. The deceased's brother, Michael Waite, 76, and sister-in-law, Margaret Waite, 73, were injured in the incident.

Authorities responded to a home in Sparta, Wisconsin on June 6 after reports came in that Aspseter had attacked three people with an axe then “shot himself in the throat with a .22 caliber rifle,” according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.

Police found Bernard Waite lying face up in the kitchen in a pool of blood. He had a deep cut above his left temple and the attack “completely crushed” the man’s left eye, investigators said. A large wood-splitting axe was found laying next to a sofa in the home. 

Aspseter was found at the scene covered in blood, detectives said, adding that he was unable to speak after sustaining a gunshot wound to his chin. 

Michael and Margaret Waite were treated by emergency responders and transported to a local hospital. 

Medical examiners confirmed a single strike to Waite’s head, which “penetrated deep within his skull” and killed the octogenarian.

Aspseter was living at the residence shortly before the attack occurred, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. His grandmother, who was previously living at the property, had been placed in a nursing home weeks earlier, officials said; she wasn’t named by law enforcement.

According to relatives, Bernard Waite allegedly purchased a bus ticket for Aspseter on June 3, which was set to depart that day, ahead of a trip Waite was scheduled to take for a family reunion. 

Detectives said Aspseter returned to the home after finding a ride back to Sparta and later broke into the home after unsuccessfully attempting to retrieve a key from the family’s neighbor.

After returning home from Waukesha with his family, Bernard Waite confronted Aspseter in the home's garage, investigators said.

"What the f--k are you doing here?" Waite apparently asked, according to the criminal complaint. "I put you on the bus Thursday and all you did was turn around and come back here and hide. You're not supposed to be here, I want you out of here."

Waite’s sister-in-law recalled hearing a “big crash” soon afterward, the complaint states.

Margaret Waite said she later saw Aspseter attacking her husband with the axe; she managed to escape to a neighbor’s house after Aspseter struck her in the arm.

"If I would have stayed there, I would have been sliced up. I'm quite sure," she told detectives.

Aspseter frantically dialed 911 afterward and claimed he'd attacked Waite because he was verbally abusive.

"I don't know why," he told dispatchers. "I don't... I killed him. I couldn't f---ing help it. He was screaming at me, he's been doing it forever... I hit him with an axe...I don't know what's going on. My grandmother just disappeared off the face of the earth. Oh my god. Oh my god. Why? Why did I have to go through this? Why?"

Aspseter was taken into custody without incident. He was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of attempted homicide, and two counts of aggravated battery with a dangerous weapon, according to court documents. He hasn’t yet entered a plea in court.

Aspseter is being held at a Monroe County detention center, according to jail records. His cash bond was set at $1 million, according to WXOW. It's unclear if he's retained legal representation.