Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.









Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 4, 2006
Date of arrest: Next day (surrenders)
Date of birth: 1962
Victim profile: Sin Lam, 36 (his wife)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Mequon, Wisconsin, USA
Status: Sentenced to 35 years in prison on September 5, 2006

Man charged in wife's strangulation

He became enraged when she asked for a divorce, complaint says

By Dan Benson - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jan. 9, 2006

Port Washington - After a Mequon man's wife asked for a divorce Wednesday night and struck him in the chest, he became enraged and threw her around their house, "pummeled" her face with his fist and strangled her, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

Stephen L. Trattner, 43, "wasn't completely positive if he killed her but . . . he had a pretty good idea she was dead," the complaint says.

Authorities say he covered the body of his wife, Sin Lam, 36, with a blanket and left her lying on the living room floor. The next morning, as he got his children, ages 7 and 9, ready for school, he told them to not disturb their mother, Ozaukee County District Attorney Sandy Williams said in court Monday.

Trattner was charged Monday with first-degree reckless homicide, which carries a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison.

Williams did not respond to telephone and e-mail queries on the charge.

Even though it might appear from the criminal complaint that Trattner intended to kill his wife, Marquette University Law School professor Dan Blinka called it appropriate that Trattner was charged with reckless, and not intentional, homicide.

That's because one defense against intentional homicide is "adequate provocation," meaning the victim might have done something to provoke the defendant and caused him to lose self-control.

"It used to be called 'heat of passion,' when someone is in a position of extreme emotional upset. The state would have to disprove that the defendant was emotionally upset" to make a charge of intentional homicide stick, Blinka said.

Reckless homicide requires prosecutors prove only that the defendant's actions show a disregard for human life.

According to the complaint, Trattner told Mequon police that he was in the couple's kitchen in their house on the 12600 block of Yvonne Drive in Mequon about 10:45 p.m. Wednesday when his wife told him she wanted a divorce.

Trattner grabbed her by the shoulders, and she hit him on his chest. He threw her against some kitchen cabinets, banged her head on the floor 10 to 20 times and punched her face, the complaint says. He "used his hands around her throat until she stopped moving," the complaint says.

Police say Trattner told them he strangled her because "her persistence about a divorce and breaking up their family drove him to the point where he did what he did."

Trattner went to bed, slept until 7 a.m. Thursday and woke up and got the couple's two children ready for school and put them on a school bus.

After the children were gone, Trattner ran errands, including having lunch with an acquaintance, Williams said in court.

When he returned home about 1 p.m., he called police.

In the complaint, Trattner said "he did not want to call the police because he was afraid he would go to jail."

"Given those types of actions, Mr. Trattner could be classified as a flight risk," Williams told Circuit Judge Paul V. Malloy in arguing for a substantial cash bail.

Trattner's attorney, Michael Fitzgerald, asked that Trattner be released on a signature bond based on his lack of a criminal history and his standing in the community, noting that the courtroom Monday was packed with Trattner's family and friends.

However, Malloy set bail at $750,000 cash. He also ordered that Trattner have no contact with his children.

Trattner listened to the arguments in court via closed-circuit television, slumped in a chair and wearing an orange Ozaukee County Jail jumpsuit.

A preliminary hearing has been set for 9 a.m. Friday.

Funeral held for Lam

Earlier Monday morning, almost 200 people attended funeral services for Lam, according to a spokesman at Schmidt and Bartelt Funeral Home, where services were held.

She was a native of Hong Kong and a manager at Capital Returns, a Milwaukee-based pharmaceuticals company.

Neighbors and friends said they were shocked by the news that Trattner, a project manager for Erin Hills Golf Course in the Town of Erin in Washington County, is charged in the killing of his wife.

Among them is Diana Bartley, foreign language program director for the Mequon-Thiensville Recreation Department, who said she has known Trattner all his life and as a volunteer with a children's Spanish study group.

"Steve Trattner is the most composed individual I have ever met. He has always been a very mild-mannered individual. I suppose any human being could snap, but that this could happen is incredulous. This is completely out of character," she said.

Sin Lam, 36, the victim.


Wife's confidants knew of troubles

They say Stephen Trattner was controlling, emotionally abusive

By Dan Benson - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jan. 11, 2006

To friends and acquaintances, Stephen L. Trattner was a composed and quiet man who never raised his voice or became excited, a model husband and father ready to lend a helping hand to neighbors or at his children's school.

Likewise, his wife, Sin Lam, was, as dozens of online memorials attest, a giving, open, always smiling person who never had a bad thing to say about anyone.

How then, some of their friends wonder, can one explain the events of Jan. 4, when Trattner is accused of flying into a murderous rage, savagely beating his wife and strangling her because, he told investigators, she wanted a divorce?

To Sin Lam's sister, Lai Niimi, and close friends, last week's killing was the horrific, and perhaps inevitable, end of a long-troubled marriage between a Hong Kong-born wife who they said was made to feel inadequate by a controlling and emotionally abusive, underemployed husband who had begun to drink heavily in recent years.

"He knew she was going to ask for a divorce," said Niimi, who last talked to her sister on New Year's Day.

A divorce was something Lam, 36, had first sought five years ago, and on several occasions since.

But this time, it appeared inevitable, Niimi said. The couple had agreed, she said, at Trattner's urging, to wait until after Christmas to file for divorce.

"I told her to be careful, because you don't know how he will respond," Niimi said.

Shailaja Reddy said Lam told her she had given her husband a deadline of Jan. 9 to begin divorce proceedings.

"He could no longer stop her. He could not talk her out of it and he could no longer control his rage," said Reddy, a lawyer who lives in the Town of Erin and who had recommended a divorce lawyer to Lam on Dec. 5.

Trattner, 43, has been charged with one count of first-degree reckless homicide in connection with Sin Lam's death. He could be imprisoned 60 years if found guilty.

According to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Ozaukee County Circuit Court, Trattner flew into a rage when his wife broached the subject of divorce.

He threw her against some kitchen cabinets, banged her head on the floor 10 to 20 times, hit her repeatedly in the face, then "used his hands around her throat until she stopped moving," the complaint says.

Police say Trattner told them he strangled her because "her persistence about a divorce and breaking up their family drove him to the point where he did what he did."

Trattner went to bed and slept until 7 a.m., when he got the couple's two children ready for school, telling them to not disturb their mother, who was lying under a blanket on the living room floor.

Trattner then ran errands, including having lunch with an acquaintance, before calling police at 1 p.m., officials say.

A long-troubled marriage

Reddy, who had known Lam for about 10 years since they worked together at Strong Investments Inc. in Menomonee Falls, said Lam and Trattner's marriage had been in trouble for at least five years.

"Part of it she told me, part of it I observed," Reddy said. "You have to understand, Sin was someone who never said anything negative about anybody, not even her husband."

But five years ago, Lam said "her heart wasn't in it and she felt no affection for him anymore," Reddy said.

"She tried to make it work for the kids," Reddy said.

Reddy said she knew Trattner "as a very polite and nice person. I felt very comfortable around him."

But, from what she knew as Lam's friend, Trattner "controlled what she thought, what she did and how she did it," Reddy said.

"She had begun to believe that anything of hers was of no consequence. She couldn't do anything right. She wasn't a good enough mother. Her foreignness made her unsuitable as a mother. It was psychological and emotional abuse, although Sin wouldn't phrase it that way."

"He's composed in front of other people. At home he is not," said Niimi, who lives in Oregon, but was in Milwaukee this week to attend her sister's funeral on Monday.

That's not unusual, said Carmen Pitre, director of the Task Force on Family Violence in Milwaukee.

"It did not surprise me to hear that he was abusive to her but that the community did not see that side of him," Pitre said.

"Domestic violence happens behind closed doors, so batterers lead this double life."

Trattner's lawyer, Michael Fitzgerald, and Trattner's family members did not return phone calls Wednesday.

Husband downsized his career

Further straining the marriage was that, against his wife's wishes, Trattner quit his job as a software programmer about 10 years ago to pursue - at a far smaller and less regular salary - developing golf courses, most recently as part-time project manager for Erin Hills Golf Course in Washington County.

That made Lam the family's primary breadwinner, said Niimi and Vidya Baliga, director of information technology and Lam's supervisor at Capital Returns Inc., a pharmaceutical company in Milwaukee, who said Lam confided to her that her husband was no longer supporting the family.

Questions about alcohol use

Trattner also had begun to drink heavily in recent years and was often depressed, according to Niimi and friends.

Reddy said the first time she ever heard Lam say anything derogatory about Trattner was last April in regards to his drinking. "She said, 'All he does is drink these days,' " Reddy said.

Niimi said Mequon Police told her that alcohol was a factor in the homicide.

However, Mequon Police Detective Rick Schnell said Wednesday that "Alcohol does not appear to be a significant factor" in the killing.

Baliga said Lam told her two years ago that Trattner got drunk and became very angry.

"I never got that feeling" that Lam felt threatened, however, Baliga said.

"I wish I could say I had, so that I could have done something about it," Baliga said.


Trattner gets 35 years in wife’s murder

Judge calls man ‘selfish’ for killing children’s mother

By Ed Zagorski - GM Today Staff - September 7, 2006

PORT WASHINGTON - Steve L. Trattner wept while trying to read a statement in court Wednesday morning before he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for strangling his wife in their Mequon home in early January.

Trattner, 44, sat quietly with his head down for much of the hearing and was visibly red and trembling as he asked his family and friends for forgiveness.

"I've been in jail for 9 months. Every day I've been in jail is the same as every other day," Trattner said. "I can't even socialize with the other inmates. I just sit in my cell all day long. I wake up in the morning and think of how unfair it is that I'm alive. When I do my exercise, I think of how it's not fair that Sin can't rollerblade or do yoga. I want everyone to know my sorrow and regret."

Trattner pleaded no contest and was found guilty June 16 of first-degree reckless homicide in the death of his 36-year-old wife, Sin Lam.

On Wednesday, Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Tom R. Wolfgram sentenced Trattner to 35 years in prison with an additional 10 years extended supervision for savagely beating and killing his wife. He could see his children if their therapist and Trattner's doctor or agent agree to it.

"I hope these children are resilient," Wolfgram said. "My hope is that the passage of time will help."

He said Trattner had a "stable marital relationship" up until Jan. 4

"I'm concerned of the need to protect the public," Wolfgram said. "I'm concerned for his lack of remorse. Anything less than a substantial amount of time would not be enough."

When Sin Lam told him she wanted a divorce, Trattner threw her to the floor, banged her head on the floor between 10 and 20 times, punched her in the face for one to four minutes and then strangled her to death, according to statements he gave to police.

After killing his wife around 10:45 p.m. Jan. 4, Trattner covered her with blankets and went to his bedroom for the rest of the night, where he slept until 7 a.m. The following morning he got his two children ready and sent them off to school, telling them not to bother their mother who was still lying on the floor near the couch of the couple's home in the 12600 block of Yvonne Drive.

Trattner then went on some errands and had lunch with a friend before coming home and calling the police. He told police he did not immediately call them because he was afraid he would go to jail.

According to the criminal complaint, Trattner said he killed Lam because she "had just pushed him to the breaking point and her persistence about a divorce and breaking up their family drove him to the point where he did what he did."

Sister: Divorce inevitable

Sin Lam's sister, Lai Niimi of Portland, Ore., said at the sentencing Trattner knew of the divorce Sin wanted.

"My sister was a loving mother, a good daughter and a great friend to many people," she said. "My sister was the only family I had in this country. I miss talking to her and planning vacations with her. I even miss fighting with her and knowing at the end of the day we can still love one another. We talked about planning our retirements together, but now all I can think about is how she died - how he put his hands around her neck and squeezed and squeezed and squeezed until she died. This is not a crime of passion where he found his wife cheating and shot her in the head."

Niimi said Trattner knew the divorce was inevitable.

"He killed her a week before she was going to move out," she said. "He walked past his dead wife and went to bed without remorse. This is premeditated. He sits here today looking contrite. My sister doesn't get to sit here and tell her side of the story. He is proven to be an abuser and a murderer. He doesn't deserve to be a father."

Trattner's attorney, Michael J. Fitzgerald, who had asked for a 10- to 15-year sentence for his client, said Wednesday when Trattner was examined by doctors they found he didn't have an "outlet for his negative feelings."

"Sin talked about divorce, but he kept it in for a long time," Fitzgerald said. "I believe as the doctors do that something triggered Steve to do what he did. (Trattner) has never done well with conflict, and it built up inside of him and he lost control. Something happened in that argument that was entirely foreign to him. This happened all so fast. I don't think he wanted to believe he had just killed his wife. He couldn't from a psychological level. I don't think his mind fully grasped what happened. He is a pacifist. This is a person who doesn't kill a chipmunk in his back yard."

'I overreacted'

Ozaukee County District Attorney Sandy Williams read the statement that Trattner gave to Mequon police following his arrest.

"He talks about how (Sin Lam) is tired and went upstairs to take a nap," Williams read. "I began to wash some dirty dishes then Sin Lam came shouting at me telling me the divorce will be final in two months. I grabbed hold of her and she looked at the kitchen counter where the knives were. I went absolutely berserk and slammed her head multiple times on the floor and I hit her over and over again. I completely panicked and could not believe what I did. I dragged her back to the couch. I could hardly sleep all night. I knew 100 percent that she was dead."

Williams said Trattner told police that he got his two young children fed and off to school before he contacted the power company and had lunch with a friend. She said Trattner also told police he placed some sleeping pills next to his wife's head to make it look as if she committed suicide.

"I totally overreacted," Williams read from Trattner's police statement. "I beat her and killed her in a fit of rage."

Williams said Trattner had "absolutely no concern" for his wife, but only the punishment he could face if he called for help.

"He writes what happens to him," she said. "He goes to bed that night. He never checked on Sin. He never rendered any aid to her."

Williams said Trattner wrote in the report he would have quit hitting Sin Lam if she had told him to stop.

Before rendering his sentence, Wolfgram said this particular case is a "serious" one for multiple reasons.

"He beat her head against the floor repeatedly, pummeled her with his fists and then strangled her," Wolfgram said. "It takes a great deal of pressure and time to strangle some to death. It's not like the movies where it's quick. It takes time. Mr. Trattner had plenty of time to stop what he was doing and she could've survived. He could've called police or called the rescue squad."

He said the case was also serious in the fact that the children could've been witnesses to it.

"It doesn't end there. He leaves her on the floor. He doesn't call police," Wolfgram said. "He gets the children off to school and then goes to lunch with a friend. And then he puts sleeping pills next to her in a futile attempt to make it look like a suicide. If he was believing this, he was only fooling himself and not fooling me."

Wolfgram said Trattner wanted everyone to think if Sin Lam asked him to stop hitting her he would have stopped.

"If someone is hitting you and beating you - you are going to want them to stop," Wolfgram said. "This is just an example of Mr. Trattner's lack of empathy. His actions were selfish. His actions deprieved the children of their mother. There is no question to the severity of this; and who is responsible for this? Stephen Trattner is, 100 percent."



home last updates contact