Wisconsin man accused of killing sex offender grandfather with hammer, police say

Police: Man accused of killing sex offender grandfather with hammer

KENOSHA, Wis. — A Wisconsin man is accused of bludgeoning to death his 70-year-old grandfather, leaving a hammer embedded in the man’s face, over his history as a sex offender, authorities said.

Bryan Joseph Luitze II, 25, of Racine, was charged Friday with first-degree intentional homicide and burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon, according to Kenosha County court records. He is being held on bail of $1 million.

Charles Eugene Luitze was found dead in his Kenosha home Aug. 15 after a neighbor was unable to reach him. According to the Kenosha News, the deputy who responded to the neighbor’s 911 call found a grisly scene.

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“The first deputy who arrived after the neighbor called 911 reported that when he walked into Charles’s bedroom he found the elderly man lying dead on his bed, blood splattered on the walls,” the News reported. “A hammer was still embedded in Charles’s face, the handle pointed toward the door, the center of his face crushed inward.”

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Bergoyne on Friday described the crime as a “particularly chilling” one, according to the newspaper.

Bryan Luitze, 25, is accused of bludgeoning his grandfather, Charles Luitze, 70, to death with a hammer in the older man's Kenosha, Wis., home, pictured here in a July 2019 Street View image. Charles Luitze was a registered sex offender, police said.
Bryan Luitze, 25, is accused of bludgeoning his grandfather, Charles Luitze, 70, to death with a hammer in the older man's Kenosha, Wis., home, pictured here in a July 2019 Street View image. Charles Luitze was a registered sex offender, police said. (Google)

A criminal complaint obtained by the paper laid out the case against Bryan Luitze, who was born after his grandfather’s 1991 conviction and had last seen the older man when he was a child. A relative told detectives, however, that Luitze was troubled by his grandfather’s past.

“How can you forgive him?” Luitze reportedly asked the relative. He also told him he was considering “taking (Charles Luitze) out.”

“Jesus, he paid his debt to society and it has been a long time,” the relative told Luitze, according to the News. “It’s been a long time and it’s over.”

Bryan Luitze also discussed his grandfather’s crime with a friend, who told police about Luitze’s hatred for the elderly man.

Days before the homicide, Bryan Luitze visited his grandfather’s home pretending to be a Census worker, the complaint states. Charles Luitze did not recognize his grandson but was spooked by the visit because his visitor did not have anything identifying him as working for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Charles Luitze told a friend about the concerning visit as they took a walk Aug. 13. That was the last day he was seen alive.

Investigators also found a backpack at Bryan Luitze’s home that was stained with blood. DNA testing showed that the blood belonged to the victim, the News reported.

Charles Luitze’s obituary described the Vietnam veteran as a “beloved friend to many.”

“He devotedly loved God and expressed that love through care of others and being an active member of Prayer House Assembly of God,” the obituary said. “He delighted to bless others through sharing the bounty of his garden, helping those in need and kind words for everyone.”

Court records portray him as a man with a “long history of sexual assaults.” He was convicted in 1991 of the first-degree sexual assault of a child.

His victim was a relative.

Charles Luitze was granted supervised release in October 2002 but that release was revoked three months later because Luitze “did not properly participate in sex offender treatment and believed that he did not need sex offender treatment because of his Christian faith,” a 2004 appeals court document states.

The therapist who led Luitze’s group sessions testified at his revocation hearing that the former inmate “did not take full responsibility for his conduct, examine his intent, or disclose all of his victims and his conduct towards them.”

Luitze also told the therapist that his “strong faith” rendered him safe to the community.

“The therapist perceived Luitze as using his faith as a substitute for research-backed sex offender treatment, which is necessary to reduce the risk of recidivism,” the document states. "In order to be safe in the community, Luitze needs sex offender treatment to identify his sexual assault triggers, which is key to developing a relapse prevention plan.

“The therapist terminated Luitze from the treatment group after three sessions.”

Luitze testified that he did not like to think about his behavior and tried to think about positive things, in line with his faith. He conceded that he did not believe the court-ordered treatment was necessary.

He also admitted that he was a born-again Christian when he sexually assaulted his young relative years earlier, the court document states.

His parole agent testified she revoked his release based on his failure to cooperate with his treatment and for “a breach of a rule of his supervised release relating to contact with minors.”

The appeals court upheld the revocation. It is unclear when he was released again.

Bryan Luitze has been in the Kenosha County Jail since Aug. 17, according to the News. He was jailed for an alleged violation of his probation from a prior conviction.