Fort Atkinson Resident Charged with Homicide and Arson of House; Defendant Alleges Grandmother Died by Mercy Killing

By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff

Fort Atkinson resident Elizabeth Durkee, 36, was charged in Jefferson County Circuit Court on June 15 with first-degree intentional homicide; strangulation and suffocation; arson of a building without the owner’s consent, and mutilating a corpse.

Crews were called to a house fire at 415 Foster Street in Fort on Friday, June 11 at 10:44 a.m. A 72-year-old woman, yet unnamed, but described as the grandmother of Elizabeth Durkee, was found deceased in the home. Investigators allege that Durkee told them that her grandmother was in ill health and “did not want to live anymore and wanted to be with her late husband.” They further allege that Durkee indicated that on June 7 the victim talked to the defendant about the defendant helping the victim end her life, and Durkee put duct tape on her nose and mouth. The body was apparently left to decompose until June 11, when Durkee allegedly set fire to the house. She and her two-year-old daughter were seen leaving the home minutes before the fire was discovered.

According to the criminal complaint, if convicted, Durkee faces sentences including life in prison and fines up to $100,000. She is being held in the Jefferson County Jail with a $1 million cash bond. Her preliminary hearing was set for August 6.

A report from WKOW-27 may be found here.

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