Benny Scruggs

Charge filed in 37-year-old Wisconsin Rapids Benny Scruggs murder case

Benny Scruggs

WISCONSIN RAPIDS – More than 37 years after Benny Scruggs was found stabbed to death in his bed, officials have filed a murder charge in the case. 

Donald W. Maier, 60, who is serving 15 years in prison for six counts of stalking, is facing a charge of first-degree murder for the July 17, 1985, death of Scruggs, who was a 28-year-old baker from Wisconsin Rapids. 

According to the criminal complaint filed Friday, Scruggs and his wife went out to drink at Lance’s Never Inn the night of July 16, 1985. The babysitter they hired to look after their young son told police the couple was in an unusually good mood when they got home that night. 

At 3:01 a.m. July 17, 1985, a neighbor called police and said Scruggs was moaning, bleeding and full of blood, according to the complaint. Scruggs’ wife, Yvonne, had called the neighbor to ask for help after she found her husband bleeding in their bed. 

Police began draining a pond located behind the Pioneer Village Mobile Home Park, 3010 29th Ave. S., in this July 23, 1985, file photo in an attempt to locate the knife used to kill Benny Scruggs, 28, of Wisconsin Rapids. Officer Claude Ostrum used a metal detector in an effort to locate the weapon.

Yvonne Scruggs told police she and Benny had gone to bed, and he fell asleep. She got up when she heard their son crying and went into her son’s bedroom, according to the complaint. She said she stayed in the boy’s bedroom for about 10 minutes but then something didn’t feel right, according to the complaint. 

Yvonne Scruggs said she walked into the kitchen and saw a shovel leaning against her refrigerator and an open door. She said she became alarmed because she was in the habit of always locking the trailer door before she went to bed at night. She walked into the bedroom and found Benny Scruggs lying in a pool of blood, according to the complaint. 

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