UPDATE: Bat beating suspect sought advice from girlfriend - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Bat beating suspect sought advice from girlfriend

MOUNT HOREB (WKOW)-- Koalton Peterson, the man accused of badly beating 20-year-old Ryan Smith with a baseball bat, appeared in court on Friday.

Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened that night.

Since he was 15-years-old friends say Peterson had no place to call his own. Jumping from place to place, even sleeping on the street.

"You know like at the park while it was closed or in a public restroom after they were closed and various places like that," says Tammi Hoefling.

Hoefling is the mother of Peterson's girlfriend. Friday evening she spoke to 27 News on her daughter's behalf.

She said Peterson's parents kicked him out of their home years ago. So on Tuesday night after the attack the only person he could turn to for advice was his girlfriend.

"He was scared. He was upset. He didn't know what to do. The first place he thought to ask was here. My daughter was home but she was asleep at the time. She didn't realize the extent of it. He didn't realize the extent of it and he was asking her what he had to do," Hoefling says.

Minutes later Peterson was taken into custody. Friday morning he appeared in Dane County court.

With Ryan Smith's life hanging in the balance, Peterson has yet to be formally charged. The court will wait until Smith's status becomes more certain. However, it didn't stop the court from setting a $1 million bail.

"I recognize it's a significant amount of money, but given the allegations, it was referred to our office as an attempted first degree intentional homicide," Assistant Dane County District Attorney Rachel Sattler says.

Friday afternoon the family of Ryan Smith released a statement thanking officer Nathan Gretzinker of the Mount Horeb Police Department. Gretzinker was the first officer on scene and the Smith family says he performed CPR on their son for 30 straight minutes.

The family says that act of heroism is the reason why he's still alive and fighting for his life.




MOUNT HOREB (WKOW) -- Investigators at the Dane County Sheriff's Department say 18-year-old Koalton Peterson fled the scene of a bat-beating attack early Tuesday morning. New information indicates he left the scene to seek advice from his girlfriend and her family.

The girlfriend's mother, Tammi Hoefling, tells 27 News that Peterson ran to their house minutes after he allegedly attacked 20-year-old Ryan Smith. She says Peterson was scared and confused about what he should do. He told the family he was involved in a fight, but didn't know how bad the situation really was.

Investigators say the fight derived from an argument between Peterson and Smith. They say they believe the argument was centered around drugs. Hoefling says the drug they're referring to is marijuana. She says Peterson has a history with marijuana, but has no connection with any other illegal drugs.

Hoefling says her entire family is still shocked by the news. She says they've known Peterson for quite some time and don't recall him ever showing signs of violence. She says he frequently came over to help the family with the remodeling of their house.

Hoefling says they are praying that Ryan Smith makes a full recovery from his injuries. Smith's condition was listed as critical as of Friday night.

On Friday, a judge set Peterson's bail at $1 million in the case.

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