There are people who like the city, people who like the country, and then there are those of us who like that perfect area in between: the suburbs. Most suburban communities are arguably the perfect place to raise a family in this great country of ours.
Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin is what many would consider one such perfect place. It’s a safe town, picturesque, charming, and nearly bereft of crime. We say nearly, because a few years back, a heinous crime was committed in this placid town: the likes of which Sheboygan Falls has never seen before…
Mom is Missing
Judy was driving over to her mother’s house. Barbara, her grandmother, had been incommunicado for a couple days, which was very unlike her. She came to the house and peeked into the open garage. Barbara’s car was missing. Could she have been out? She was about to turn and leave when she noticed a flash of crimson out the corner of her eye.
Judy glanced towards the garage door and noticed a body lying in a pool of congealed blood. It was her mother, who had likely been dead for days. At first, overcome with grief, she believed that it must have been a terrible accident which took Barbara’s life. She would soon find out that this was no accident…
It was 2012, and the once placid, quiet town of Sheboygan Falls was shocked by the discovery of murdered 78-year-old great grandmother, Barbara Olson. Police had arrived at the scene within minutes and determined quite handily that whatever happened to Barbara was nothing short of a brutal, violent attack. Yet they had no clue who could have done such a thing.
Meanwhile, Judy tried her best to recount the days following her grim discovery. All she could remember of note, was dropping her son, 13-year-old Antonio Barbeau and his friend Nathan Paape to meet up with friends on the same block where Grandma Barbara lived. The two teens had other plans in mind, however…
The boys got out of the car and when they were sure that Judy was completely out of sight, they snuck into Barbara Olsen’s garage. Unbeknownst to anyone but the two of them, they had a plan to get some money from Grandma Barbara and had intended to sneak up on her through the door that led from the garage to the kitchen.
Come On In, Boys
To their dismay, Barbara heard the teenage boys and invited them into the house. She led them into the house and went over to the phone so she could call Antonio’s mother and let her know Antonio was over there. Before she could dial, the boys leapt into action, brutally attacking her with the weapons they’d brought along with them for the occasion: a hatchet and hammer…
Hatchet and Hammer
Nathan hit Barbara with the hammer. Then he hit her again. Antonio then cracked her upside the head with the blunt blunt edge of the hatchet as well. After that, they proceeded to strike at her, one after another, until she expired. At one point, Antonio took off his sweatshirt so that it wouldn’t get in the way of him swinging the hatchet.
Before she died though, Barbara Olsen did her best to put up a fight against her teenage assailants. She covered her head and tried to cover her head, groaning and telling them to stop. It was no use. Once they had finished the deed, they dragged her blood-soaked body to the car parked in the garage. Unfortunately for them, neither teen was prepared for how difficult a task that would be…
Unable to shift Barbara’s body any further, Antonio and Nathan decided to just leave it in the garage and take the car themselves. Along with the $155 in cash and several pieces of jewelry they found inside the home. They shoved the meager bounty and themselves into Barbara’s car and drove it off to dump it at a nearby bowling alley.
They abandoned the few pieces of jewellery they’d stolen, figuring that it would be fairly easy to track those, and left the car unlocked in the parking lot. They’re hope was that someone would steal the easily available vehicle and therefore be implicated in the brutal scene back at Grandma Barbara’s…
After their dreadful deeds were done, the two teens decide to take their ill-gotten gains and indulge themselves. In what you may ask? Why, marijuana and pizza, of course. A few days later, not 12 hours after Antonio’s mother found Barbara Olson’s body, police came for Antonio. They had found bloody clothes and shoes in his locker.
Search his Home
The police soon found their way to Nathan’s home as well. This subsequent investigation unearthed even more bloody clothes. They also found Barbara’s gold watch, the one keepsake Nathan had decided to keep, and her purse was found in a nearby storm drain. The DNA evidence on all the found items would prove to be a slam dunk for detectives…
The district attorney was shocked that such a heinous crime could happen under his nose and so the two teenagers were being charged with first-degree murder and charged as adults no less. Antonio entered a plea of not guilty by mental disease or defect and two weeks later, Nathan also entered a plea of not guilty..
Shocked the Nation
The new shocked the nation. Barbara Olson, a kind, harmless little old lady had been murdered in her home by none other than her 13-year-old great grandson and his best friend. People in Sheboygan were more shocked than any. In fact, many in the neighborhood began to wonder if the accused were even from there..
“Did these kids grow up here? Did they grow up here in Sheboygan?” asked many Sheboyganites. It was strange, because both Antonio Barbeau and Nathan Paape looked like your average all-American boys. They were scamps perhaps, normal teenagers, but were they murderers? Were they truly capable of the savagery of which they were now being accused?
Antonio Barbeau’s attorney knew that the case was a wash. As the trial date loomed ahead of them, he knew that the not-guilty plea was not going to fly: not with the violent nature of the crime. They changed their plea to no contest as part of a deal. That meant that Antonio would be eligible for parole in 35 years. As for Nathan…
Nathan Paape would now face the full wrath of the court by himself. His defense attorney took the position that Nathan had come home from school as usual, when Antonio came by and convinced him to go attack Barbara Olson, his own great grandmother. He even said that he had brought the hatchet along with him that day.
The prosecution brought Antonio up to testify and while it was Nathan’s contention that he was forced to attack Barbara with the hammer, Antonio assured the jury that his friend was just as guilty of planning the murder as he was. Nathan later refuted the testimony and explained that he was afraid if he didn’t hit her with the hammer, that Antonio might turn the hatchet upon him. Soon enough, it fell to the jury to decide…
The two teens shed tears as their defense lawyers made closing arguments, but the jury wasn’t buying it, and neither was the judge for that matter. Judge Timothy Van Akkeren was not a fan of either defenses. He believed that the murder of Barbara Olson was one of the worst he had encountered in 24 years on the bench and that nothing he’d seen has even come close.
It only took a few hours of deliberation for the jury to find both Nathan Paape and Antonio Barbeau guilty and sentence them to life imprisonment with a minimum of 31 years. Both men will be eligible by the time they are 49 years old. By then, hopefully, they’ll have learned their lesson and be able to get a second chance at life.