Victim injured but stable, police say
A Waukesha man who reportedly struck his wife at least 10 times in the head with a pipe wrench out of fear she might leave him has been accused of trying to kill her.
Peter Slesar, 65, was charged Thursday, Feb. 2, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Court records show he made his initial appearance the same day and was ordered held on a $1 million cash bond.
According to a criminal complaint, Slesar attacked his 68-year-old wife, Catherine, with the wrench around 11 a.m. Feb. 1 inside their home on Maplewood Terrace, apparently out of fear that she might leave him. He called police and told a dispatcher what happened about a half hour later, police said.
Slesar told investigators in the complaint that he has been diagnosed with depression and was managing it, but said the disease had become increasingly difficult to deal with since September. That and recent conversations with his wife had led him to believe she was thinking about separating from him, he said.
He grabbed the wrench from the basement, the complaint said, and first struck his wife in the head with it in their upstairs bedroom then continued to do so at least another nine times before she lost consciousness in a hallway.
That is where police said in the complaint that they found her, in a pool of blood and begging for help. She reportedly estimated that Slesar hit her "maybe 20" times with the wrench.
According to the complaint, Catherine Slesar suffered numerous injuries as a result of the beating, including a gash on her head so large that deep a portion of her skull was showing. She is in stable condition, according to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department.
She told officers in the complaint that she was the one who prompted Peter to call police after she regained consciousness, and said he did not offer to help her in any way after the attack.
"This is not him. This is not the person I know," she said, according to the complaint.
Online records indicate that Slesar's next court hearing was scheduled for Feb. 8. He's facing up to 60 years in prison, if convicted.