UPDATE: Janesville man charged in Mazomanie homicide - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Janesville man charged in Mazomanie homicide

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A Janesville man is officially charged with murdering a Mazomanie woman.

Philip Byrd, 39, appeared in Dane County court Thursday afternoon. He's charged with first degree intentional homicide, with two enhancers: domestic abuse and use of a dangerous weapon.

Byrd is accused of shooting and killing Cheryl Gilberg, 43, in her Mazomanie home on February 23.

New details were released through court documents Thursday, outlining the investigation. A criminal complaint shows Gilberg was shot twice in the head, through a pillow. The autopsy found Gilberg had other wounds too. It appeared her hands had been crushed or slammed in a door and she had injuries to her body and face that indicated she had been battered.

Bailiffs took an extra precaution in court, conducting a security weapons screening for those entering the courtroom viewing area, which is not usually protocol during initial appearances. A sheriff's lieutenant tells 27 News authorities knew family might be there and things could get emotional. The decision to screen the public was up to the court.

A court commissioner set a cash bond for Byrd at $300,000. Assistant District Attorney Corey Stephan argued for a higher bail, claiming Byrd may have many connections in the U.S. and could be a flight risk.

"Basically, he goes anywhere in the country he can to follow jobs with his union steelworking contracts," says Stephan. "We know from the investigation he moves around a lot, he doesn't stay in one place very long."

Assistant State Public Defender Murali Jasti told the court Byrd could not obtain enough money to get out of jail before the case comes to a close.

"Obviously, given the nature of the charge that Mr. Byrd's facing, we understand that cash is going to be imposed," says Jasti. "Whether it's $100,000 or a million dollars, it's really inconsequential, he will be unable to post."

A criminal complaint shows Byrd admitted to authorities he had been at Gilberg's house the day of her murder and wanted to talk to investigators about what happened.

"Cheryl's family needs justice done and I'm gonna see to it they have it," Byrd told detectives, as quoted in the criminal complaint.

Byrd told authorities he had an argument with Gilberg and she pointed a gun at him and put the gun in his mouth. Byrd said he began wrestling with her and as the two struggled, the gun went off. Byrd claims he attempted to cover her eyes with a pillow so she couldn't see him.

When asked, Byrd told investigators Gilberg never fired the gun at him and he could not answer as to whether he intended to pull the trigger.

Byrd said when he left the Mazomanie house, he thought Gilberg was still alive so he took the gun and drove away.

The criminal complaint also describes what Byrd said he did with the gun that killed Gilberg. He told detectives he was driving on Highway 14 when he saw a police car, he became nervous about what happened, pulled over and threw the gun across the road.

Authorities spent weeks searching for that gun they believe to be the murder weapon but have yet to find it. The sheriff's office asks that if anyone comes across the pink gun to call 911 immediately.

According to the criminal complaint, Byrd maintained he was responsible for Gilberg's death and he should be charged with murder, admitting he was angry at the time of the incident but saying he did not "kill her in cold blood."

The detective who filed the report said in the criminal complaint there was a significant difference in the physical conditions of Byrd and Gilberg. She was collecting disability for injuries sustained in a 2008 car crash and was on multiple medications. Byrd is described as a body builder.

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Janesville man in custody in connection with a Dane County homicide case is expected to be charged with murder.

According to the Dane County District Attorney's Office, Phillip Byrd, 39, will make his initial appearance in court Thursday afternoon. He's accused of shooting and killing Cheryl Gilberg, 43, who was found dead in her Mazomanie home on February 23.

Sheriff Dave Mahoney says Byrd will be charged with first degree intentional homicide with a domestic violence enhancer. We're also expected to learn more about what led up to Gilberg's death when court documents are released.

Tune in to 27 News at 5 & 6 to hear the latest on the investigation.
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