published Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Police: 3 who attacked couple went to wrong home

MADISON, Wis. — The men accused of severely beating a man and repeatedly sexually assaulting his pregnant wife may have meant to target a different home for a robbery, authorities in Wisconsin said.

Three men face sexual assault and armed robbery charges after police said they broke into a Madison home looking for money, found the couple lying in bed and assaulted the woman, who was six months pregnant, after beating her husband. But a criminal complaint shows a woman may have sought to send the men to rob the home of a man she was dating.

The complaint filed Tuesday details a botched robbery plan that may have been intended to target the victims' neighbor. Authorities said Efemia A. Neumaier told the assailants they'd find at least $1,500 in cash in the home of the man she was seeing, but that the men broke into the wrong home.

Michon A. Thomas, Eric D. Bass and Kristopher J. Hughes all face robbery and sexual assault charges in the in the Feb. 23 home invasion on Madison's east side.

Neumaier has been charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery after the man she was seeing discovered her Facebook messages to Thomas setting up the attack, the complaint says. Two others accused of helping plan and carry out the attack also have been charged.

The complaint says that while the couple struggled to sleep about 5 a.m. that Sunday morning, the male victim, who is legally blind without his glasses, noticed the bedroom door was open and shouldn't have been.

"Is someone here?" the man called out from bed. A suspect then turned on the bedroom light and three men burst into the room, demanding money.

"Someone's gonna die tonight," one suspect said, according to the complaint. One suspect was allegedly wearing a mask from the movie "Scream."

The female victim told the three men repeatedly that she was pregnant, and that the men could take what they wanted from the house.

Reports say Hughes pulled the male victim from bed, laid him on his back and began hitting him in the face with a gun and punching and kicking his body.

Another suspect pulled the woman from bed and ordered her to lie on her stomach in the hallway, the report says. A suspect allegedly took a handgun and put it to the woman's stomach, saying, "You're going to die tonight."

All three men are accused of sexually assaulting the woman, and one is accused of forcing her to perform oral sex.

After putting the couple in a darkened laundry room, the complaint says the men left with electronics and the couple's credit cards and wedding rings. The complaint says the men left in a rented Ford Fusion driven by DeAndrae L. Mayweathers Jr., who was charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

The victims ran to a neighbor's house for help, the man with what's described in the report as a baseball-sized contusion to his head and the woman bleeding from the assault.

Police said after interviewing neighbors that the alleged assailants planned a "lick" on a man believed to carry large sums of money, but struck the wrong house.

A fifth man, DeMarco D. Mallit, has been charged with theft and aiding a felon. Investigators said the robbery was planned at his apartment.

Bass, who pleaded no contest to three counts of sexual assault in 2011, was ordered held on a $75,000 cash bail. That was higher than Thomas and Hughes, who received $50,000 bail each. Mayweathers was held on $10,000 bail, and Neumaier and Mallit were each held on $5,000 bail.

Public defenders have not yet been assigned to the suspects. Court commissioner Todd E. Meurer advised Bass on Tuesday to hire a private attorney right away.

Police said Mayweathers' girlfriend told them he wanted to drive the car because it was rented in his name, but that "he did not want to be involved in (the robbery)."

She said when he told her the story he did not mention how the woman was assaulted or that she was six months pregnant.

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