Prosecutor downgrades charge against Zachary Hays in interstate shooting case

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Zachary Hays

MADISON — Prosecutors have downgraded the most serious charge against a Wisconsin man accused of killing an Illinois woman in an interstate drive-by shooting.

Zachary Hays faced first-degree intentional homicide and reckless endangerment charges in Sauk County in connection with the May 1 incident that left Tracy Czaczkowski dead. District Attorney Kevin Calkins on Monday, August 29th downgraded the intentional homicide count to first-degree reckless homicide, saying during a hearing that the charge is more consistent with what he’s learning about Hays’ mental state.

Hays pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to all four counts.

Hays also faces charges in Milwaukee County for allegedly killing his neighbor in West Allis hours before he took to the road — one count of first degree reckless homicide.

He’ll next be in court in Milwaukee County on September 12th for his arraignment. In court on August 18th for his preliminary hearing, probable cause was found for further proceedings in this case. Hays pleaded not guilty. Cash bond has been set at $100,000.

A Milwaukee County judge ordered a competency evaluation of Hays in June after the defense raised concerns about his mental health. The court found Hays competent to proceed after a doctor’s report was returned at the end of July.

A psychiatrist’s report found Hays could be suffering from schizophrenia or another mental disorder.

Hays has a third open case filed out of Columbia County — where he’s charged with five counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety and one count of fleeing/eluding an officer.

Hays was shot and wounded by Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies following the drive-by shooting on I-90/94 — ending a pursuit. He will be in court in October 28th in that county for his arraignment.

Hays was released from the hospital on May 25th following treatment of wounds suffered in that officer-involved shooting.

Zachary Hays

Zachary Hays


  • confused

    So mental disease is the new card being played now, This is so wrong. It is not fair to those who are truly affected. So what’s next no one will be charged with anything during the riots of 8/12-8/14 because they went all 6’s & 7’s over a criminal armed with a stolen gun and ammo got shot by a cop that came from the same neighborhood and time period? Give me a break.

  • confused

    Sure lessen those charges. Isn’t anyone responsible for their actions at all anymore? Remember people he was found competent enough to stand trial. The only disorder he suffers from is that he got CAUGHT.

    • confused

      Exactly should add the charge hate crime as well,shooting at a white woman. But that’ll never happen, poor little disadvantaged, non-white. All distraught over oppression, profiling and perceived racism. When did the actual victims become shoved off to the side ?

  • Paul

    The Prosecutor needs to be replaced. What about the victims mental state of mind after she found out she was shot? That doesn’t matter?

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