City Times Staff
A Bancroft man convicted of 1st degree sexual assault of a child has taken his own life.
News of the 57-year-old man’s suicide went public in court on Tuesday afternoon. The man was found guilty by a Portage Co. jury of seven women and five men on June 8 after being accused of sexually assaulting two female family member under the age of 13. He was scheduled to be sentenced today.
Michael Petta was not in custody at the time of his suicide. He was free on bond pending sentencing. The District Attorney’s office had asked that his bond be revoked due to the amount of prison time he was facing, according to Assistant District Attorney Cass Cousins. However, bond was continued while Petta underwent interviews for the pre-sentencing investigation (PSI).
PSIs are regularly performed for in felony cases to help the court determine the appropriate sentence for those convicted.
In spite of his death, his conviction will remain on the books, according to Judge John Finn.
“The appropriate thing to do in this case,” said Finn, “is to leave the conviction intact.”
Portage Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Wayne Kropidlowski on Tuesday confirmed the suicide did not occur at the county jail, but also said he wasn’t certain the man’s family had been notified.
Coroner Scott Rifleman was not immediately available for comment.
ADA Cousins said that the Portage County Victim and Witness Coordinator will remain in contact with the victims and file for restitution for the young victims in this case. Restitution will come from the $7,500 cash bond posted by Petta after his arrest.
This is the second time a convicted felon has taken his own life prior to sentencing. Last year, Jose Flores Aca committed suicide in the Portage County Jail after pleading guilty to murdering and sexually assaulting his neighbor at a Plover apartment complex.