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James Donegan makes first court appearance in Riverwest murder

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MILWAUKEE -- 32-year-old James Donegan made his initial court appearance in the murder of Teresa Boone on Saturday, September 8th. Donegan is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and armed robbery. Police say he strangled and stabbed Boone September 2nd at Kilbourn Park in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood.

During his court appearance, Donegan was in a wheelchair, with his right eye swollen shut. No explanation was given for his injuries.

A Dane County judge was called in to preside over the case while a special prosecutor from the Attorney General's Office represented the state. The efforts were made to eliminate a conflict of interest since Donegan's father, Thomas, is a Milwaukee County judge.

Thomas Donegan told FOX6 News earlier in the week his son is suffering from a mental illness. Public defender Neil McGinn asked the judge Saturday to allow Donegan to undergo a mental competency evaluation.

It appeared the hearing was about to end when Donegan spoke up.

"I don't want this to be my lawyer, first off, I never hired him," Donegan said.

McGinn could be heard telling his client, "I told you we'll talk about that," as Donegan shook his head.

Shortly thereafter, Donegan was wheeled out of the courtroom. McGinn did not immediately return calls from FOX6 News.

A woman who identified herself as Donegan's mother declined to comment on camera. Off camera, she said the family is standing by her son. She also expressed sympathy to the Boone family. She declined to discuss her son's injuries.

Donegan is due back in court September 24th.

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