According to a mental health assessment in Patrick Fowler’s criminal court file, his rage was fueled by a feeling of betrayal the night that he fatally stabbed his girlfriend Jessica Ellenberger and her 4-year-old daughter Madyson Marshel.
“I was seeing at the time, every woman I ever cared about and had turned her back on me,” said Fowler, according to his mental health report. “It was anger and betrayal.”
The mental health assessment also noted that when the incident took place, Fowler, 33, was thinking about a comment his mother had made when he was being detained by authorities at age 12, likely for the incident that led to him being institutionalized for most of his youth.
“I don’t want him,” Fowler’s mother had said. “You keep the bastard.”
Fowler was recently found guilty of two counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide after the bodies of 28-year-old Ellenberger and her daughter Madyson were discovered inside their 68th Street home last year on March 19th, 2016. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in prison, with no chance of release to extended supervision.
According to investigators, Fowler stabbed Ellenberger 26 times and slit her throat after he “felt as if he was being disrespected,” and then turned the knife on her daughter who was watching the incident unfold while crying for her mother. Fowler then used children’s coloring books to set their bodies on fire, took Easter candy from the home and walked out the front door.
When Fowler and Ellenberger were arguing, Fowler mentioned that Ellenberger had said he was being annoying and that she wanted him to leave. Fowler said he felt hated and betrayed, which led to his feeling disrespected and grabbing the knife.
Fowler, who has a lengthy criminal history, was institutionalized from the age of 12 and through most of his youth. Fowler has at least two charges of violating the sex offender registry, one that was dismissed in light of his 1st Degree Intentional Homicide charges relating to the Ellenberger-Marshel murders.
After extensively reviewing Fowler’s court file, the details of his sex offender charge were still limited, aside from a small note on one of his sex registry violations: “Underlying offense was a 1997 juvenile adjudication for 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child.” The case noted that the child involved was 7 years old.
Looking back at Fowler’s history of violence throughout his life paints a dark picture of domestic abuse, child abuse and numerous disorderly conduct and battery charges. One of Fowler’s earliest charges on Wisconsin Circuit Court Access, otherwise known as CCAP, involves a charge of Battery by Prisoners in the year 2000 while he was still in a secure juvenile facility. Shortly after, in 2002, he was charged with Throwing/Expelling Bodily Fluids, followed by 2003 and 2004 charges of Disorderly Conduct as a Repeater.
This list continues, with the crimes becoming progressively more violent. In 2009 Fowler caught a Sex Registry Violation, followed by a Child Abuse charge that involved a domestic incident with his then-girlfriend and the mother of his children, as well as her 16-year-old brother. In 2013 and 2015, Fowler was charged with two more Disorderly Conduct – Domestic Abuse charges, both involving another ex-girlfriend. A brief overview of Fowler’s criminal history and the criminal complaints involving the domestic abuse cases and homicide can be viewed above.
Fowler’s prior domestic abuse charges were available in his court file, and revealed details relating to numerous violent domestic situations. In 2013, Fowler was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend Christina Thomas after an argument started early in the morning. Fowler started to grab at Thomas, resulting in marks on her neck and arms. When Thomas threatened to call police, Fowler punched her several times in the face before fleeing the residence.
In 2015 Fowler was arrested again after throwing Thomas on the floor, grabbing her by the hair and holding a knife to her throat.
“You’re not gonna leave me,” Fowler stated, according to the criminal complaint. “If you try to leave me, we’re both gonna leave together.”
Even more alarming is the fact that the court had predicted that Fowler was going to commit a homicide. According to the court records for case number 2015FA006149, the court Petitioner notes that Fowler posed a significant threat of committing another serious crime.
“There is a substantial risk the respondent may commit 1st degree intentional homicide … 2nd degree intentional homicide … 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree sexual assault … or 1st or 2nd degree sexual assault.”
Considering Fowler’s comments about how he felt the rejections of every woman he has ever loved right before he attacked Ms. Ellenberger and her daughter, and taking in to consideration the lengthy, habitual tendency toward violence that Fowler has exhibited over the years, one is left with a burning question of why: why wasn’t this man permanently removed from the streets years before he murdered Ellenberger and her young daughter Madyson?
Fowler continued his violent behavior throughout his time in juvenile detention, and has exhibited the same violent tendencies for the years following his release as an adult. It was even predicted that this man would commit a murder if he is released.
The one thing that nearly every single one of his previous criminal cases has in common is the fact that the system has continued to release this man to the public, over and over again. He has been released on probation and extended supervision with almost every single one of his charges, and even though he continued to repeat the same criminal behavior, he has still continued to have his prison-time “stayed” in favor of extended supervision and a few anger management and Batterer Intervention classes.
For Fowler’s earliest charges between 2000 and 2003, he was given numerous chances at extended supervision. His 2000 case involving Battery by Prisoners released him on extended supervision, which was later revoked. His charge of throwing/expelling bodily fluids saw him confined for a little over one year, but again released him to extended supervision for 13 months and 22 days, which was again revoked. His 2003 Disorderly Conduct as a repeater allowed him 18 months of probation, with conditions that he attends anger management counseling.
For Fowler’s 2009 Child Abuse (w/ Intention to Cause Harm) and Sex Registry Violation, he was meant to serve three years initial confinement with two years of extended supervision, but the sentence was stayed for three years of probation instead. For his 2013 Disorderly Conduct/Domestic Abuse case, he was given a short 90 day sentence, even though he was a repeater for both the disorderly conduct and domestic abuse charges. For his 2015 Disorderly Conduct/ Domestic Abuse case, he was again given 90 days with one year probation, which was stayed once again. He has had his extended supervision revoked a few times, but ultimately ended up back on the streets again and again.
Fowler has also served plenty of prison time over the course of his life. However, despite his “repeat offender” status on numerous cases, as well as the violent tendencies associated with many of them, he has continued to be let out of prison to commit another crime.