9/5/2019 7:26:00 AM Three Lakes man charged with obstruction of justice in motorcycle hit-and-run case
Jamie Taylor and Heather Schaefer of the River News
The 54-year-old brother of the man accused in the hit-and-run death of a 23-year-old St. Germain motorcyclist Aug. 28 was arrested Aug. 30 for concealing from law enforcement that his brother had contacted him and that he had driven him to Three Lakes the night of the accident.
Brian Liebscher made his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon on a charge of obstruction of justice, a class A misdemeanor. Branch I judge Patrick O'Melia set a $500 signature bond and scheduled an adjourned initial appearance for Oct. 14.
Liebscher is accused of not truthfully reporting to Oneida County detectives investigating the death of Sean Holtslander that his brother Jeffrey had contacted him after the fatal accident and that he drove his brother to Three Lakes.
Jeffrey Liebscher was charged Aug. 30 with hit and run causing death and homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle in connection with the accident on State Highway 17 that was initially reported to the sheriff's department at 10:23 p.m. Aug. 28, according to court records.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Jeffrey Liebscher, after striking Holtslander, Liebscher attempted to conceal his damaged vehicle. Detectives located the vehicle about 2 1/2 hours later, but Jeffrey Liebscher was not with the vehicle.
When detectives contacted Brian Liebscher he did not reveal to the investigators that Jeffrey had contacted him after the accident and asked him to take him to his son's house and then a residence in Three Lakes.
After police met with Brian Liebscher, Jeffrey Liebscher called 9-1-1 to advise that his brother had contacted him to let him know police wanted to speak with him. He was later located on a dock at the residence in Three Lakes. He invited officers into the residence to discuss the accident. Initially, he advised that he had been at the residence in Three Lakes since approximately 10 p.m. Aug. 28.
He then summarized his movements during the evening of Aug. 28, which included a stop at a friend's home where he sat around a campfire and consumed half of a mixed drink containing whiskey, according to the complaint.
After Liebscher finished his recitation of events, Oneida County detective sergeant Chad Wanta advised him that his story did not match up with other evidence collected and asked him if he wanted to correct any of the information he had provided.
At that point, Liebscher broke down and admitted to striking the motorcyclist, the complaint states.
"Jeffrey stated that after striking the motorcycle, he exited his vehicle and observed the operator on the ground and knew the individual was dead," the complaint states. "Jeffrey stated he panicked and didn't know what to do. Jeffrey stated he knew he was not impaired from consuming alcohol, but knew he had a couple of glasses of wine as well as half a glass of the mixed drink."
In the criminal complaint charging Brian Liebscher, he said his brother called him at his place of employment in Three Lakes between 11:05 and 11:15 p.m. on Aug. 28 and "Jeffrey advised Brian that things were not good and were life changing" and Jeffrey asked Brian to meet him on County D.
The complaint said Brian Liebscher told deputies he left Three Lakes between 11:15 and 11:30 p.m. and drove to where his brother was waiting for him.
According to the criminal complaint, Brian Liebscher allegedly told detectives he wasn't initially truthful with them because he "didn't know what to do. It was too much for me to comprehend" and that he was "just so concerned and shocked about the situation."
During his court appearance Tuesday, O'Melia asked Brian Liebscher if he wanted an attorney in the case, and he said he did.
"It was my understanding, your Honor, this would be a misdemeanor," Brian Liebscher said.
"Yes, it is a misdemeanor," O'Melia replied. "Has bond been set yet?"
"Nothing has been set yet," Liebscher replied. "I was told to come here and find out how much my fine was going to be."
"Well, a misdemeanor is still a criminal offense," O'Melia said.
"I know that," Liebscher said.
If convicted of the charge, Brian Liebscher faces a fine of up to $10,000 and up to nine months in jail.
In Jeffrey Liebscher's case, Branch II judge Michael Bloom set a $1,500 cash bond and then recused himself from the case. As this edition went to press, a new judge had not been selected to preside over his case.
If convicted of both cases, Jeffrey Liebscher faces up to 35 years in prison.
Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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