Milwaukee prosecutors charge jailor in fugitive’s death

Apr 21, 2023, 10:38 AM

MIlWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee County Jail guard was charged with misconduct Friday in connection with the in-custody death earlier this year of an accused killer who was once on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list.

Laquisha Cowser, 32, told investigators that she had completed her safety checks when she had not, according to the criminal complaint. Jail surveillance video shows that she skipped Octaviano Juarez-Corro’s cell on two separate checks in the two hours preceding his death.

Cowser has been a jailor for about four years, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said. She was relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the criminal case and a subsequent internal review. Online court records did not list an attorney for Cowser.

Juarez-Corro, 49, was found unresponsive in his single-occupant cell in January, authorities have said.

An investigator with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office discovered a ligature around Juarez-Corro’s neck, the complaint said. Investigators who wrote the complaint did not elaborate on where the ligature may have come from or whether Juarez-Corro possibly killed himself.

Juarez-Corro had confronted his estranged wife at a 2006 Memorial Day picnic in a Milwaukee park and demanded to see his daughter, authorities say. When his wife refused and told him to leave, Juarez-Corro allegedly pulled out a handgun and shot five people. Two of them died. Hundreds of people were in the park at the time.

Juarez-Corro disappeared after the shooting, landing on the FBI’s most wanted list in 2021. He was finally captured in Zapopan, Guadalajara, Mexico, in February 2022 thanks to a tip. He was extradited to Milwaukee in September.

He faced two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and three counts of attempted first-degree homicide. He had been held on $1.5 million bail since October.

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