CUBA CITY, Wis. — The chairman of the Wisconsin Parole Commission again has denied the parole request of a man who murdered a Grant County Sheriff’s Department deputy.
John Tate II has ordered that Gregory Coulthard, formerly of Cuba City, serve three more years in prison before being eligible for parole consideration again.
“The chair’s decision in this case is based upon a review of Department of Corrections records, including your adjustment while incarcerated and (the) parole commissioner’s findings and recommendation,” Tate wrote in his decision.
Coulthard received a life sentence in 1990 after a jury convicted him of first-degree intentional homicide for fatally shooting Deputy Thomas Reuter.
Tate agreed with the assessment of Commissioner Douglas Drankiewicz, who reviewed Coulthard’s case in January and recommended a five-year deferral.
Drankiewicz determined that Coulthard has not served sufficient time for punishment and presents an unreasonable risk to the public if released.
But after reviewing the initial ruling, Tate stated that a three-year deferral was “appropriate” given “the totality” of Coulthard’s record.
At his 1990 trial, Coulthard received a life sentence but became eligible for parole after 25 years. In 2015, the commission denied his release and deferred his next parole hearing until 2021.
Both Tate and Drankiewicz agreed that Coulthard’s institutional conduct and participation in programs within the correctional system have been satisfactory and that the plan Coulthard had developed for his life after his release is satisfactory but needs approval from a parole agent.
In an email, Coulthard called the decision “good news.”
“It is still higher than I would have wished for, but it is a positive step forward,” he wrote.
Coulthard seeks to return to Cuba City to live. A group of Cuba City volunteers have secured him employment and have pledged to oversee his transition into the community.
Diane Reuter, who married Tom in 1973, declined to comment on the commission’s decision.
She previously described to the Telegraph Herald the pain Tom’s murder caused her and their five children. Diane said she supported the family as a working mother without her dedicated partner to share in life’s milestones.
The night of the murder on March 18, 1990, Tom Reuter was nearing the end of his patrol when at about 11:30 p.m., he radioed in that he was stopping to check on a tractor on New California Road, two miles south of Livingston.
He approached the implement, which was driven by the then 18-year-old Coulthard.
Coulthard fired a shotgun, fatally hitting Reuter in the chest.
Lloyd Runde, who was the chief deputy of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department at the time, agreed with the commission’s recent decision on Coulthard’s parole request.
“Just the facts of the case don’t warrant an early release in my opinion,” he said.
Grant County Sheriff Nate Dreckman concurred.
“A law enforcement officer was just doing his job, just checking on a tractor on a side road late at night,” he said. “To be shot and killed just for that?”