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Hearing filled with emotion as RF man gets six months' jail

A River Falls man was sentenced to six months jail Thursday, June 16, for misdemeanor battery, carrying a concealed weapon and violating a domestic abuse order, but not until after an emotion-filled two-hour hearing in Pierce County Circuit Court.

William Qualls, 44, of River Falls sat in the defendant's chair after pleading guilty in April to those charges. At issue Thursday was his punishment.

The emotional rollercoaster started when the victim addressed the court.

"My life has been greatly affected by Will," she said. "I live in a constant state of fear. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I've installed security cameras, motion sensors, have had the locks changed."

She was far from finished.

"I've been strangled, choked, beaten, punched," she continued, getting more emotional with every detail. "He's taken away my freedom to live. He's a very dangerous man who needs to get help."

She wrapped up her statement by saying, "don't deter from the fact he dresses nice and has a good job. Teach him he's not above the law."

The help issue was addressed from the testimony of psychologist Dr. John Hamann.

Hamann described Qualls as a person "who isn't dominant and more of a facilitator," and who presents himself with poise and control. However, he stated, when he doesn't have control of a situation, his feelings are built up and he doesn't know how to deal with them.

Hammann said more than once he felt Qualls wouldn't be served with incarceration, rather with treatment.

"He's not a danger to the general public," Hamann said. "Jail would compound the issue instead of rectifying it. I don't see him as a dangerous person. With the recommended therapy, (these incidents) wouldn't be happening."

Qualls' present companion said she has known him since 1998 and hasn't been afraid of him.

"I trust him with my young children," she said. "He's loving, compassionate and understanding."

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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