Criminal complaint in Portage homicide reports victim tried to protect acquaintance

PORTAGE (WKOW) -- A criminal complaint states the victim of a Portage homicide that followed a botched drug deal, was trying to protect an acquaintance when he was fatally shot.

The complaint charges 24-year old Mario Brown, Jr. of McFarland with party to a crime of first degree intentional homicide, in the Dec. 18 death of 22-year old Jason Laack of Rio.

Brown's bail Tuesday was set at $1 million.

The complaint says Brown Jr. went to a unit at the Cattail Lodge in Portage to buy marijuana from Laack.  Court records state a man with Brown attempted to shoot Laack's acquaintance, Isaac Breedlove, but the gun failed to fire.  Records say the man then handed Brown the gun.

The criminal complaint states "...Laack placed himself between Mr. Brown and Mr. Breedlove,"  and Breedlove and Laack's sister then ran off, and called 911.

Court records say the couple "...heard gunshots and what sounded like a struggle," and responding officers found Laack fatally wounded and on the ground.

Brown, Jr. has past convictions for violent felonies, and authorities say he was tracked last month through his enrollment in a community, re-entry program for former inmates, and surrendered to Madison Police.  Investigators say they continue to look for the other man with Brown at time of Laack's shooting.

A preliminary hearing for Brown, Jr. is scheduled Thursday.