Slaying suspects ran scams in Colorado
Vail CO, Colorado
DENVER (AP) ” A couple accused in Wisconsin of killing a woman and torturing her son had allegedly stolen cars and identities and run other “small-time scams” when they lived in Colorado, authorities said.
But Michael Sisk, 25, and his girlfriend, Candace Clark, 23, showed few signs of violence when they lived in Grand Junction in 2005-06, Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said Thursday.
Sisk, 25, and Clark, 23, along with Felicia Mae Garlin, 15, and Michaela Clerc, 20, are suspected of killing Felicia Garlin’s mother, Tammie Garlin, and torturing Tammie Garlin’s 11-year-old son, whipping him, scalding him with hot water and locking him naked in a closet.
Hautzinger said the crimes Sisk and Clark were accused of in Grand Junction appeared to be just a way for them to get by and not part of any bigger criminal enterprise.
“There’s nothing in there that’s a precursor of what he’s accused of in Wisconsin,” Hautzinger said of Sisk’s record.
Sisk is wanted in Colorado for leaving his work release job after pleading guilty to stealing a car and possessing a stolen credit card.
Colorado prosecutors asked a judge to sentence Sisk to prison because he had left the state twice while the cases were pending and had to be extradited, once from Idaho and once from Florida.
Instead, Sisk was sentenced to probation and work release instead, not an unusual sentence for property crimes given the shortage of prison space, Hautzinger said.
Under Mesa County’s work-release program, prisoners spend the night in jail and perform manual labor at different locations during the day. Hautzinger said Sisk, who had previously been arrested for forgery and writing bad checks, left his assigned job and never returned.
Hautzinger said Clark ” who used the last name Farris ” failed to appear in court last October for allegedly writing bad checks and stealing a car.
High school teacher Josh Guajardo said he rented a house in Grand Junction to Sisk and Clark, whom he knew as Billy Trautman and Ruth Porter, in August 2005. He said the couple’s 1-year-old daughter also lived there along with a third adult, whom he believes was Clerc. Her name wasn’t on the one-year lease, which he said they broke after three months.
In October 2005, Guajardo said Sisk and Clark threatened to call the health department about the house if they didn’t let them out of the lease. Guajardo said the couple “always seemed like they had a complaint against someone” and he was willing to be rid of them, returning their $800 security deposit and letting them off the hook for the rent.
He said sometimes they claimed they were broke because someone had taken money from their bank account; another time they said they were suing Wal-Mart because they claimed their baby had broken out in rash from crab they bought there.
“I didn’t care, I wanted them out. I would have paid them to leave,” said Guajardo, whose account was first published in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
After they left, Guajardo said, he noticed a tree and a rose bush had been removed from the yard. Curtains and flower pots were also missing, he said.
Guajardo said Sisk and Clark, who said she was pregnant but wasn’t showing, told him they worked for an online company at odd hours and paid their rent in cash.
Once, he said, he was called to the house to fix the stopped-up kitchen sink and said he found gravel and pieces of metal down the drain. He said they had built what appeared to be a wooden altar inside the house put a sign on the wall behind it that said something about a witch, a candle and a prayer.
He said the couple had three or four dogs.
The couple later moved to another house in Grand Junction. Owner Teresa DeRush told the Wisconsin State Journal that when she refused to return their security deposit, Sisk and Clark threw eggs on the walls and put dog excrement into the heating ducts.