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Arrest made in triple murder

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MADISON, Wis. - Police told Dustin Wilson's family they found a drop of the former Charles City teenager's blood on the sandals of a man they arrested for his murder Sunday in New York City.

A University of Wisconsin student has been charged with killing three men, including the 17-year-old Wilson on June 26 in Verona, Wis.

Meng-Ju "Mark" Wu, 19, was charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, authorities said Monday.

Memorial services for Wilson are scheduled today in Charles City. He had lived with family members in Mason City and Charles City before moving to Wisconsin about nine months ago..

The three men were found dead of gunshot wounds on June 26 after a woman looked into a window of a duplex in Verona and saw a person lying in a pool of blood.

In addition to Wilson, Jason C. McGuigan, 28, and Daniel R. Swanson, 25, were killed in their sleep.

Wilson's stepfather, Mike Snook of Charles City, said police told family members that the drop of Wilson's blood was found on a sandal belonging to Wu.

"I think they have the right person," Snook said Monday. "We're just happy that an arrest has been made so soon."

Snook said Wilson had never mentioned any contact with Wu and the family knew nothing about the suspect.

Wu was arrested late Sunday in New York City, Verona Police Chief Bernie Coughlin said. Authorities were unsure if Wu was trying to flee the country.

Wu, originally from Taiwan, is a permanent resident alien and was associated with the victims.

The motive in the shooting remained unclear, but Dane County Sheriff Gary Hamblin said gambling almost surely played a role.

"How much of a role gambling played is still unclear," he said.

A criminal complaint filed Monday against Wu in Dane County says that Wu told investigators he had lost $15,000 in bets between April and June of this year and feared that his parents in Taiwan would learn of his gambling addiction.

Bank records, however, indicate that Wu's losses were much greater: Between December 2002 and June 9, 2003, he had withdrawn more than $72,000 from his account.

Wu told investigators McGuigan bought a gun because he was afraid his Cadillac Escalade SUV, worth about $60,000, might be carjacked and he kept the weapon under the rear passenger seat. Wu said he and the other three men at the apartment had handled the gun, but he said he had never fired it.

The gun was never recovered, but the gun case it came in along with a pair of sandals were found in a dumpster near Wu's apartment in downtown Madison.

Wu had earlier admitted throwing the sandals away, saying they were old and he didn't want them anymore.

Also found was the latch to the front door of the murder scene, which Wu told police was used in lieu of a key.

Police also uncovered discrepancies in Wu's account of his whereabouts near the time of the killings, which apparently occurred at about 2:30 a.m. June 26, when a man living upstairs from the slain men's apartment heard loud banging from below.

The bodies were found at about 2:55 p.m. that afternoon by McGuigan's aunt. All three bodies were shot twice - McGuigan once to the chest and once to the back, and the other two men to the head and chest.

Wu told police he had befriended McGuigan because Wu wanted to gamble. He said McGuigan had set up an offshore betting account for him and advised him about teams to bet on.

At a news conference Monday, Chief Coughlin said the case was still being intensively investigated, but officers said they believed Wu was the only suspect in the killings.

Wu's extradition to Wisconsin could take a few weeks, according to the Dane County, Wis., district attorney's office.

- The Capital Times of Madison, Wis., and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Key events in the investigation

The following is a timeline of events, based on court records and police interviews, related to the June 26 shooting deaths of three people in Verona, Wis.

* April: Jason McGuigan meets Meng-Ju Wu, a UW-Madison student interested in gambling. Wu begins paying McGuigan for betting tips. McGuigan sets up an account for Wu at Olympic Sports in the Bahamas.

* April to June: Wu loses $15,000 gambling.

* June 6: McGuigan buys a Glock 9mm handgun from a Sun Prairie gun dealer.

* June 21: Wu wins $17,000 thanks to a tip from McGuigan, brags about it and is told by McGuigan not to talk about it.

* June 24: Wu calls McGuigan 14 times. McGuigan calls Wu five times.

* June 25: Wu repeatedly calls McGuigan. McGuigan calls Wu twice. In the evening, McGuigan and the two other victims, Daniel Swanson and Dustin Wilson, are seen in Wisconsin Dells. McGuigan is reportedly upset with Wu.

* June 26, 12:50 a.m.: McGuigan leaves a Madison apartment on Vilas Avenue.

* June 26, 2:30 a.m.: Todd Vincent, an upstairs neighbor of the victims, hears loud banging and what sounds like someone walking loudly downstairs.

* June 26: Wu has breakfast with his parents, shops at East Towne Mall and takes a flight to New York at 4:45 p.m.

* June 26: Bodies of McGuigan, Swanson and Wilson are found in their apartment just before 3 p.m.

* June 27: Police announce it's a triple homicide, the first in Dane County in more than 30 years.

* June 27: Police reach Wu by phone in New York.

* June 28: Dane County Sheriff's Office Detective Dale Anderson flies to New York to interview Wu. At 9:30 p.m., police find sandals with blood in a dumpster near Wu's downtown Madison apartment.

* June 28 or after: Wu is returned to Madison on a material witness warrant, but under law, cannot be arrested. He is then returned to New York.

* July 1: Investigators pick up 25 dumpsters in a three- to four-block area around Wu's apartment. They later find a gun case for the Glock but not the gun.

* July 3: DNA taken from the blood on the sandals match that of Wilson.

* July 6: Wu is arrested in New York.

* July 7: Wu is charged with three counts of first degree intentional homicide.

-Wisconsin State Journal, a Lee Enterprises newspaper


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