By Emily Hynek. Jackson County District Attorney
Today in Jackson County Circuit Court, the Honorable Daniel S. Diehn sentenced Kellie
J. Schmidt, 55, to a prison term of 20 years consisting of 10 years of initial confinement
followed by 10 years of Extended Supervision. Schmidt was convicted in April 2023 of
First Degree Reckless Homicide for the fatal stabbing of Thomas Boetcher, 53.
On September 9, 2021, Boetcher crawled to a neighbor’s residence after being stabbed
in the upper body by Schmidt, where the neighbor discovered him bleeding profusely
from what was later determined to be a severed artery. The Jackson County Sheriff’s
Office and emergency services responded and immediately transported Boetcher for
medical care, but Boetcher succumbed to his injuries.
Shortly after first responders began providing emergency aid to Boetcher, deputies
located Schmidt attempting suicide. They were able to successfully intervene and
transport her for medical services. Although Schmidt initially denied remembering
anything about what had happened, she later claimed she stabbed Boetcher in self-
Assistant District Attorney Crystal Jensen presented the State’s sentencing remarks,
rejecting both the defendant’s version of events and the defense focus on alleged
abusive behavior by the victim. She noted that law enforcement conducted a thorough
investigation that deliberately examined whether this was a case of self-defense, and
the evidence did not support that claim. ADA Jensen observed that on the night
Schmidt stabbed Boetcher, his fight to survive saved Schmidt when emergency services
responded to the scene and aided her in addition to trying to save him. ADA Jensen
asked the court to impose a 30 year sentence, including 20 years of initial confinement,
based on the defendant’s history of similar behavior, her failure to comport her behavior
appropriately even when supervised or confined, and her unwillingness to accept
responsibility or acknowledge the impact of her crime on others.
The defense argued that Schmidt stabbed Boetcher because of his past abuses, and
offered testimony from a psychologist to support their theory that Schmidt’s trauma left
her unable to recognize other options during an argument on the night of the homicide.
They asked for a sentence consisting of 4 years of confinement.
In issuing his sentence, Judge Diehn rejected the defendant’s attempts to malign the
victim and indicated his intent to focus on the offense for which the defendant was
convicted. He observed that while the victim and defendant may have had a turbulent
relationship, only one of them introduced a knife into the situation that night. Judge
Diehn also noted that the defendant had a criminal history consisting of assaultive or
harmful offenses against family and partners, including a prior incident where she
stabbed a different man in Racine County. In concluding his remarks, Judge Diehn
acknowledged that the sentencing marked a sad, awful day for everyone involved.
District Attorney Hynek commends ADA Jensen and the deputies and investigators of
the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Justice – Division
of Criminal Investigation for their extensive work on this case, but notes that no amount
of investigation and answers would return Thomas Boetcher to his family and friends,
nor could any sentence mitigate their loss.