Waupun Correctional Institution
Tom Kropp #[ID]
P.O. Box 351
Waupun, WI, 53963
I was 35 when these events occurred. At the time I was considered a habitual criminal in Wisconsin. But my criminal history could be quickly summed up in short order.
At age 16 while out hunting on my horse in the country two young punks in a car zoomed out in the field like the "Dukes of Hazard." They gunned the gas behind my horse, making Buster run and hurdle a two foot high stone wall fence. The idiots couldn’t stop their car in time and smashed into the fence, banging up their car and jarring them around. For revenge they went to the police claiming that I had shot at them. I was waived to adult court and had a poor public defender at trial that got me convicted through a series of major errors. I was given 4 years paper after a 90-day jail sentence.
At age 19 after an argument with my ex-girlfriend, I was drunk and threw a pool ball through her window. When she ran out to confront me with some guys I punched one in the eye and they fled. During the altercation my ex twisted her ankle running and went to have it checked at the hospital. It was fractured. She claimed I deliberately broke her ankle and her mom backed her up. I was revoked on my probation and given more time for my ex’s ankle injury. I went to prison with six years.
While in prison I fought a lot and lost most of my good time. I’d routinely resisted arrest when guards tried to grab me. I would push and pull away, freaking them out. Then one time when I pushed some guards they lied claiming I’d punched them in their chests rather than pushed them. I was a huge dude with a lot of muscles that jury would see as dangerous, while the two cops were like Laurel and Hardy, one incredibly obese and the other maybe 150 pounds of skin and bones. I was facing ten years at trial and took a deal for 18 months.
After doing 6 of 7½ years I was freed. I was out a couple years doing construction and doing well at it. When my current girlfriend went off on a drunken drug spree her brother came over and asked me if I would back him up because he was going to a crackhouse where she was to pull her out. The whole family was worried about her. I agreed to be his backup. When we went pounding at the door the crackheads were terrified of us. But they all had arrest warrants out for them, so none of them could call cops without going to jail themselves, which her brother and I knew. Much to our surprise, my girlfriend called the cops on her brother and me claiming that we were threatening the residents. Her brother actually ran behind the place and went through a window that I couldn’t fit through with my large size. The cops caught up to her brother and me. We were arrested. Her brother had grabbed her coat and at first there was burglary charges from that. My paper was being revoked when my PO told me, I fractured his hand by slamming a door on it at the jail. I went back to prison for three more years.
I got out and went back to construction. I stayed free three years and was doing well for myself. But my girlfriend at the time had an addiction to painkillers. I was actually getting some for her through doctors because she couldn't get enough on her own. One day she overdosed and the cops found my pills on her. She lived, but I went to jail charged with felony prescription drug fraud and distribution because I shared my pills with her. I bailed out. But while on bail a tall guy in a monster truck had road rage and tried to shatter my skull with a metal pipe he swiped near my ear. I snap kicked his leg twice and it made the limb go dead under him, ending the encounter. Much to my shock, he went to the police and showed them his injured leg. He admitted he came after me with a pipe. But the cops still charged me with battery. That because a felony bail jumping because I caught a case while out on felony bail. I didn’t go back to court and that became another bail jumping. Then when cops finally found me I put up quite a fight. It was a mad melee of blows, holds, throws and rolls as we brawled. I was maced in the face and belted with batons. Eventually I was subdued. Much to my shock, the ADA only charged me with resisting arrest instead of multiple felony cop batteries, due to the cops’ records of assaults on citizens and prisoners. But it was still a felony bail jumping charge. I took a last-minute deal trial day for five years. I did two years in and got paroled out.
That’s where this story starts.
I right away got a good paying job at a major construction company. They liked me and I was moving fast there. I liked driving all across Wisconsin to different job sites. I did some weightlifting and a lot of drinking with my free time. For women I dated some attractive bar fly type girls and knew some cute hookers that were cheap for me to see. Life was good. I even had a good relationship going on with everyone in my family.
But after four months free, I was at a house party when a very tall ex-con named Ernie came over and dipped into a private conversation I was having. Ernie had done a decade for raping a woman with force and for strong arm robbing a dude. I didn’t like him and made it clear by saying, "Ernie, I don’t care what a rapist thinks."
Ernie didn’t like that and got in my face. I actually tried to do the right thing and leave the house. But the asshole blocked the door. I pushed him aside. He lunged and I snagged him in a side headlock while hammering two right hooks to his head. It stunned him some, allowing me to lock a guillotine choke on his throat. I told him to tap and after briefly, furiously flailing, he grew limp in my grip and tapped in submission. I released him and left the party.
Much to my shock, Ernie went to the police and pressed battery charges on me. I was forced to flee my home and hide out at a hotel in Milwaukee. It was heartbreaking because I was doing so good out there and now I was doing back to prison over a thug that had no problems beating and violently raping a woman and beating up and robbing a guy. But he was now playing a victim for the system, despite him starting the fight.
At the hotel I was suicidal. Going back to prison for more years was worse than dying to me. I seriously considered cutting my carotid artery as I sat in that room drinking with a sharp knife near my neck, battling the desire to die. I knew if I cut my carotid artery I would bleed out on the bed and all the booze would take away the pain. It seemed like a good way to go. If I couldn’t be free I wanted to just die and be done with my misery.
But fate kinda intervened. One morning while I was hung over and standing at my door with a morning drink, a tall, black cat that looked familiar walked towards me with a room key.
"What’s up?", he asked quite calmly.
"Hey," I nodded at him, still unable to place him. Much to my surprise, he pasted my face with a punch that sent me stumbling back into my room. He rushed with punches, stinging me with more solid shots in the skull while I covered my face with my forearms. I bounced back from his attack, drilling a series of straight ahead fists in his face that flung him outside on the ground. He got up and stumbled away, bleeding badly. I tasted blood and had a couple welts where he’d walloped me and all I could think was, "Who the hell was that guy?"
I had no idea. I grabbed my gear to go because now people were pointing my way and phones were out, to cops I was sure. I was almost escaping when the same cat came back with another attack. He danced and darted around like a boxer. He was tall with a long reach and rangy build. I knew I didn’t have time to play boxing, but I couldn’t try leaving because he’d attack if I turned my back for my car. I closed the gap by faking a low kick, but it didn’t fool him. He stabbed a right jab above my eye that split the skin wide and blood fountained out from a bad cut. I crashed into him with an anaconda choke on his throat that brought him down like a lion on a buffalo’s neck. He blacked out in the hold.
I heard sirens approaching. I left him laying and fled to my car. I gunned the gas and hopped a couple curbs swerving through traffic and actually slipped past the cops that hit the hotel. Unfortunately for me, some do gooder citizen followed in a car with a cell phone reporting my progress to police. Soon the cop cars cordoned off my route. I pulled in a parking lot. I ran on foot into a small acre clump of trees and swamp between buildings. I laid low while spying several ways and seeing cop cars and foot patrols on all sides. I was hemmed in. I went into the swamp and laid down in the muck so only a small part of my bloody face was visible. I felt like I was in the predator movie as all kinds of cops hunted past my position with shotguns and M-16s. They all had vests on and radio'd back and forth. It was quite crazy.
Unfortunately for me, a K-9 unit showed up and that smart pup led police right to me. I had a bunch of barrels bristling my way. I surrendered after a brief inner battle whether to make them shoot me or give in to the system.
I came quite close to making them shoot me.
Once I was cuffed they took me to get my cut stitched up. Much to my amazement, the black dude I fought was now pressing battery charges on me. He was claiming to be my victim. He even had arrest warrants out for him and rather than arrest that ex-con, the cops instead arrested me. Charged me with battery and him with nothing.
At a later date I would find out that one night while I was drunk at a bar that guy and I got in a fight. I dropped him on the ground in a chokehold. The asshole wanted revenge for a fight I didn’t even remember because I was black out drunk.
I was a very suicidally depressed guy at the county jail. At my revocation hearing Ernie showed up to testify. My lawyer asked him, "Isn’t it true that you did prison time for the rape of a child?"
"No! It was a grown woman!", Ernie objected, quite offended.
"I’m sorry," I said loudly to my lawyer, "I thought he was a child rapist. I guess he’s just a regular rapist."
Everyone, judge included, laughed out loud, except for Ernie and my PO because he was her wonderful witness to revoke me.
I was revoked for one year in prison. I received a couple extra months on both battles because Ernie was a bad victim and the black cat was on the run from the cops and didn’t come to the last trial date.
It was a brutal blow going back to prison, even for one year. But I went back to my routine of working out, reading, writing, watching TV, associating with a rare few folks and mainly staying to myself. I told myself that I was still young and could get out and be successful again. I could live a life free of prison or parole.
Unfortunate the future had bad plans for me.
But that’s another story.
Tom Kropp [ID]
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