MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Milwaukee County Sheriff’s detectives led an investigation into an inmate at the House of Correction on a murder-for-hire case. The investigation resulted in seven felony charges and one misdemeanor charge against the inmate, 31-year-old Mark Girtler of Milwaukee.
Sheriff’s officials say Girtler has an extensive criminal history, including armed robbery, battery, domestic abuse, recklessly endangering safety, and intimidation of witnesses.
These past convictions make him a habitual criminal repeat offender, adding additional penalties to the current charges.
Court records show a number of cases filed against Girtler this year — including a case filed in January in which he is charged with battery – domestic abuse (repeater) and disorderly conduct – domestic abuse (repeater).
A restraining order was filed against him in February.
Girtler has two contempt of court cases filed against him in February.
Girtler has a case filed in April of 2014 — in which he is charged with lewd and lascivious behavior — for allegedly exposing himself.
The latest case — filed on July 25th — charges Girtler with the alleged murder-for-hire scheme.
Court records say Girtler has been at the House of Correction since his initial appearance in the case filed in January. His initial appearance was on January 16th.
A criminal complaint against Girtler in the case filed against him on July 25th says an investigator received a number of letters from his victim in the domestic abuse case against him — written by Girtler.
The complaint says an investigator also located and reviewed a number of telephone calls from Girtler to his victim.
The telephone calls led to contempt of court charges being filed against Girtler in two separate cases. Those cases were scheduled for trial.
The complaint says the letters from Girtler to his victim say things to the extent of — Girtler pleading with his victim to get the witnesses for his trial date not to testify — with Girtler writing that if they do, “I won’t get out until I’m 40!”
The complaint says in the letters, Girtler threatens to kill himself if he loses at trial and is given a significant sentence — with Girtler writing: “9 yrs is way 2 long 2 B gone & away.”
The complaint says Girtler writes in the letters: “I just hope u let me try 2 dig myself out of this grave & that u don’t put the nails in this coffin. It’s gonna be an extremely rough 105 days by the time April 29th come.”
The complaint says Girtler’s case filed in January — and his two contempt of court cases were scheduled for trial on April 28th.
The complaint says Girtler’s victim said a man came to her door in March. She didn’t respond — but says the man left a note saying that he had just been released from the House of Correction — and that he knows Girtler. The complaint says the note included a phone number — and the woman and the man exchanged texts and phone calls — in which the man indicated he had a letter for her from Girtler.
The complaint says Girtler’s victim told officials she saw the man in her neighborhood on several occasions, and said she was “disturbed.”
The complaint says investigators spoke with this man — who said Girtler knew he was nearing release from the House of Correction — saying Girtler had asked him to contact Girtler’s victim upon his release.
The complaint says this man told investigators that between approximately June 14th and June 24th, Girtler had asked him to kill Girtler’s victim.
The complaint says investigators were informed by this man that Girtler had asked him if he could “do a job” — saying “I need somebody to murder (his victim)” — offering him money to do so.
The complaint says Girtler offered the man a piece of paper with his victim’s address, and a time by which this needed to be completed. That piece of paper was recovered by investigators.
The complaint says while the man initally agreed to participate in Girtler’s plan, in the end, he decided to notify authorities.
Girtler called at least one other individual from the House of Correction to ask for “a favor” — according to the criminal complaint against him. The complaint says Girtler got an address — and agreed to write this man with details — saying “I don’t want nothin’ to be on this phone, you know what I mean?”
The complaint against Girtler says two letters were sent to the man — and the second was intercepted by officials.
The complaint says the letter describes his relationship with his victim, and his current legal conundrum — saying “I’m not ready 2 do no 12-15 years.”
The complaint says in the letter, Girtler apologizes to the man, “4 putting all the pressure on you.”
The complaint says in the letter, Girtler offers the man money for his assistance — asking the man to go to his victim’s home and tell her “U go 2 court again, you die!”
The complaint says the letter asks the man to go over to his victim’s home, wearing a mask so she cannot see who he is — possibly with other people, so that she’s sure to answer the door. The complaint says Girtler asks the man to “go hard on her” to let her know that they are not messing around.
The complaint says Girtler writes: “If I go 2 trial & loose because she their – live is ova!” The letter reads: “I don’t care if u put da barrel in da (expletive) mouth or pistal whip her.”
The complaint says the letter included Girtler’s victim’s address.
“Protecting the victims and witnesses in these cases is critical to a functioning justice system. The work of the detectives prevented this subject from carrying out his threats. Many cases are dismissed because a witness fears for his or her life. This subject’s stay in a bed and breakfast facility just got upgraded to a state prison,” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said.
Girtler now faces the following seven charges:
- Count 1 – Felony Intimidation of Witness
- Count 2 – Misdemeanor Intimidation of Witness
- Count 3 – Felony Intimidation of Witness
- Count 4 – Felony Stalking
- Count 5 – Felony Solicitation of First Degree Intentional Homicide
- Count 6 – Felony Intimidation of a Victim
- Count 7 – Felony Solicitation of Burglary
- Count 8 – Felony Intimidation of Victim
He now faces up to an additional 94 years and nine months in prison.
Girtler’s criminal history is as follows:
- 12/11/2000 Milwaukee PD Manufacture/Deliver THC (<=500 grams): No Process
- 04/07/2001 Greendale PD Retail Theft / Non Criminal: Fine
- 04/08/2001 Milwaukee PD Take and Drive Vehicle w/o Consent Ammended to OVWOOC Passenger: 6 months HOC and 2 years Probation – Judge Sankowvitz
- 08/21/2001 West Allis PD Resisting/Obstructing: 29 days HOC and $100 fine- Judge Siefert
- 09/26/2003 South Milw PD Poss of Drug Para and Poss of THC: 3 days HOC with 3 days credit – Judge Skwierawski
- 03/06/2004 Milwaukee PD CCW: Non-criminal
- 11/01/2004 Milwaukee PD Resisting/Obstructing and CCW: Non-criminal
- 07/22/2005 Milwaukee PD Resisting /Obstructing and CCW: Non-Criminal
- 10/07/2005 Milwaukee PD Knowingly Violate a Domestic Abuse Order (3 counts): No Process
- 01/29/2006 Milwaukee PD Knowingly Violate a Domestic Abuse Order / Battery / Armed Robbery: 2 years WSP – Stayed Sentence 2 years Probation- Judge Murray
- Re-confinement Hearing on 12/11/2008 Sentenced to 1 year WSP
- 02/21/2006 Milwaukee S.O Intimate Witness / Habitual Criminality: 9 months HOC with 2 years Probation- Judge Van Grunsven
- 06/12/2006 Milwaukee PD Probation Violation / Poss of THC / Resisting Obstructing / Knowingly Violate Domestic Abuse Order: 2 years WSP – Stayed Sentence 3 years Probation with initial confinement to HOC for 30 days – Judge Conen
- 10/20/2006 Dodge Correction Intake to WSP – Mandatory Release 08/21/2007
- 11/09/2007 Milwaukee PD 2 Degree Reckless Endangering Safety / Habitual Criminality / Probation Violation: Dismissed at request of Prosecution – Judge Conen
- 05/24/2008 Milwaukee PD 1 degree Reckless Endangering Safety / Intentionally Contact Victim – Habitual Criminality / Probation Violation: Acquitted at Jury Trial of 1 degree RES – Guilty Intentionally Contact Victim and Habitual Criminality: 1 year 6 months WSP- Judge Fiorenza
- 05/24/2008 New Berlin PD Resisting Obstructing: 6 months WSP concurrent to previous case – Judge Van De Water
- 04/21/2011 Milwaukee PD Poss of THC / Habitual Criminality: Amended to Misd. $100 fine
- 05/31/2013 Cudahy PD Resisting Obstructing: 60 days HOC 45 days credit – Judge Stark
- 06/03/2013 Cudahy PD Battery / Disorderly Conduct: Dismissed due to witness non-appearance – Judge Grady
- 09/16/2013 Milwaukee PD Battery Domestic Abuse Related / Habitual Criminality: Dismissed due to witness non-appearance – Judge Grady
- 01/12/2014 Milwaukee PD Initially in custody Battery Domestic Abuse Repeater and DC Repeater
- 07/25/2014 Milwaukee SO All Current Charges that are listed on the Criminal Complaint.
Girtler made his initial court appearance in the murder-for-hire case against him on Wednesday, August 6th. During that court appearance, the court was advised by Girtler’s attorney that there is reason to believe Girtler is not competent to proceed with the case.
A competency examination has been ordered for Girtler, and a review of a doctor’s report is scheduled for August 19th.
Girtler has been remanded into the custody of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.