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Homeless man sentenced to life in prison for murder of peace activist

Judges gavel.
By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judges gavel. By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A homeless man will spend at least 45 years in prison, for killing a suburban Milwaukee peace activist.  

Circuit Judge Timothy Dugan gave 26-year-old Nicholas Retzlaff a life prison term Thursday, with the chance to apply for a supervised release when he turns 71.  

Retzlaff pleaded guilty to choking 65-year-old Peter Holzberger last fall. The victim's body was later found under piles of clutter in his Glendale home.  

Retzlaff changed his plea to guilty after a second defendant, 29-year-old Robert Christophel, was convicted by a jury of first-degree intentional homicide. He also faces a life prison term when he's sentenced two weeks from Friday.  

Retzlaff's attorney said his client suffered abuse and neglect from his parents until they kicked him out of their home in 2004 -- and Holzberger later took him in.  

Retzlaff reportedly suffers from Asperger's syndrome and does not understand how his actions affect other people. Retzlaff wrote a statement of apology, saying Holzberger was the only person who cared about him.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)