Sheboygan Falls is an idyllic city in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Before 2012, the last murder was in 1996 and there are only one or two first-degree homicides in all of Sheboygan County per year on average. It isn’t a large metropolitan area where crime is rife but a densely populated area where crime is almost non-existent. Fleeing the bright lights of Wisconsin, many families set up home here because of how safe it is considered as well as how picturesque it is. Quaint shops and restaurants line the streets in the commercial area while lush trees are dotted along the meandering roads in the residential area.
In 2012, however, Sheboygan Falls was shocked by the brutal murder of 78-year-old great grandmother, Barbara Olson, who was hacked and bludgeoned to death with a hatchet and hammer.
Even more shocking was the revelation of who the murder was perpetrated by – Barbara’s very own 13-year-old great grandson and his best friend. It was a crime that shocked the nation. If you’re not safe in your own home with your own great-grandson then where are you safe?
“Did these kids grow up here? Did they grow up here in Sheboygan?” asked Sheboygan County District, Joe DeCecco, when he was informed of the heinous murder. Antonio Barbeau and Nathan Paape looked like your average all-American boys from Sheboygan Falls, so what led them to kill Antonio’s great grandmother with such savagery? 1
On that fateful afternoon of September 17th, 2012, Nathan’s oblivious mother drove the two boys down the tree-lined street of Westwynde Bluffs. As they approached the house with the welcome sign affixed to a plant in the front garden, they said goodbye to Nathan’s mother. When she was out of sight, they snuck into Barbara’s garage.
They had intended on sneaking up on Barbara through the door which led from the garage to the kitchen. However, Barbara heard the teenage boys and invited them into the house, adding that she would call Antonio’s mother to let her know that Antonio was with her.
When Barbara turned her back on Antonio and Nathan, she was brutally attacked by the duo, which had brought along their weapons of choice: a hatchet and hammer. They cracked her across the head with the blunt edge of the hatchet. She fell to the floor and “tried to cover her head, groaning and telling them to stop.” Following the heinous attack, the two boys attempted to drag her blood-soaked body to the car which was parked in the garage. Realising that this wasn’t an easy feat, they decided to just ditch Barbara’s body in the garage, with a trail of blood leading from inside the home.
A mere $155 was all they were able to steal from Barbara, as well as several pieces of jewellery. After they stuffed the pitiful bounty into their pockets, they grabbed Barbara’s car keys and dumped her unlocked car at a nearby Sheboygan bowling alley. Inside the car, they abandoned the few pieces of jewellery that they had ransacked from the home in the hopes that somebody would steal the unlocked vehicle and then be implicated in her murder.
So what would two teenagers do with a pitiful $155, stolen from the elderly lady they just slaughtered? They bought marijuana and pizza.
It wouldn’t be until two days later that Barbara’s body was found. Her daughter, Judy Offutt, drove over to her home when she hadn’t heard from her. She peeked into the garage and noticed that Barbara’s car wasn’t there. Before turning away, she glanced towards the garage door and spotted her lying on the floor, surrounded by blood. She initially believed that her mother must have had an accident but this was no accident, as she was soon to find out.
Within 12 hours, Nathan and Antonio would be apprehended for her murder after bloody clothes and shoes were discovered in Antonio’s locker. An investigation of Nathan’s home unearthed more bloody clothes as well as Barbara’s gold watch and in a nearby storm drain, they discovered her purse.
It was announced that the two teenagers would be being charged as adults with first-degree murder. In January of 2013, Antonio entered a plea of not guilty by mental disease or defect. Two weeks later, Nathan also entered a plea of not guilty.
Antonio’s attorney had attempted to have his trial moved because of the pre-trial publicity but they were unsuccessful. As the trial date loomed, Antonio changed his plea to no contest as part of a deal with the state which would see him eligible for parole in 35 years. He was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide. 2
Now it would only be Nathan facing a court of law. By June of 2013, jury selection was complete – 11 men and three women were selected. It would be one of the most shameful trials the entire state of Wisconsin had ever seen.
During the opening statements, which commenced on Monday the 17th of June, 2013, Nathan’s defence attorney, Chris Petros, told the jurors that on that warm September afternoon, Nathan had come home from school as usual. Shortly after he dropped his schoolbag on the floor, his good friend, Antonio, showed up at his door. As the teenagers sat in Nathan’s bedroom, Antonio produced a hatchet from his bag.
According to Nathan’s defence attorney, Antonio then concocted the grim plan to kill his own great grandmother.3
Nathan was nothing more than a bystander, they argued. Antionio, however, had a different version of events when it was his turn on the witness stand. While he admitted that he had attacked Barbara with the hatchet, he contended that Nathan wasn’t as innocent in the ordeal as his defence attorney was claiming. Nathan came to Barbara’s home armed with a hammer and with that weapon, he bludgeoned Barbara. He also testified that Nathan was just as compliant in the planning of the murder.
When Nathan took to the witness stand, he confessed that he did hit Barbara with the hammer, adding that he only hit her twice and only did so because he was afraid that Antonio would turn on him. He also described how Antonio had a “blank, no emotions” look on his face as he repeatedly bludgeoned his Barbara.
At one point during the murder, Antonio took off his sweatshirt so that it wouldn’t get in the way of “him swinging,” Nathan told the aghast court room. 4
Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner, Doug Kelley, testified that Barbara had been struck at least 27 times with both sharp and blunt objects. This was the evidence that Nathan, armed with a hammer, certainly had participated in the murder. The entire court room fell dead silent as the gruesome photos of Barbara’s body flashed on screen. Deep wounds to her head, face, arms and hands were enough to make even the most hardened law officials look away. The wounds on her arms and hands were indicative of defensive wounds, meaning that the elderly great grandmother had attempted to defend herself against the blows.
She wasn’ t knocked unconscious by the initial blow meaning she knew very well that it was her own flesh and blood ending her life.
Throughout the trial, Antonio’s defence attorney had argued that in 2009, Antonio had been involved in a car accident which left him with an “unspecified cognitive disorder,” which most likely played a role in his decision to commit crime. However, this alone certainly wasn’t enough to ignore the brutal nature of the murder and certainly doesn’t justify the actions. District attorney, Joe DeCecco agreed that “this type of crime cannot go unanswered and be explained away by brain trauma.” 5
Antionio’s grandmother – the daughter of his victim – offered a plea in mitigation. She contended that her mother would want Antonio to not receive a strict punishment so that he could have a chance to be a better person. While Antonio’s attorneys and family were attempting to excuse his actions with brain trauma, Nathan’s attorneys and family had argued that Nathan should not have been held accountable because he was allegedly developmentally challenged. His great aunt told Fox 6 that Nathan believed he would be coming home after admitting to the murder, indicating he didn’t grasp the severity of what he had done or considered the consequences.
However, Judge Timothy Van Akkeren disagreed with both defences, arguing that the crime as the worst he had encountered in his 24 years on the bench. “I’ve not seen anything of this nature, not even close,” he said. As the trial was coming to a close, the two teenagers shed tears and asked for forgiveness but these crocodile tears didn’t sway the jury. After just mere hours of deliberation, they found Nathan guilty of being party to first-degree intentional murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment with a minimum of 31 years. Antonio Barbeau had already been convicted of first-degree intentional homicide and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years.
When Nathan and Antonio are 49-years-old, they will both have a chance of parole. Both murders will get a second chance at life – something they denied Barbara Olson as she begged the young boy that she helped raise from birth, for her life.
- St. Paul Pioneer Press – 30 September, 2012 – “Sometimes, Evil Grows in Unexpected Places”
- St Paul Pioneer Press – 6 June, 2013 –“Regional Briefing”
- Associated Press State Wire – 17 June, 2013 – “Defence Pins Blame on Other Teen”
- NY Daily News -20 June, 2013 – “Boy Testifies how they Hacked Great-Grandmother”
- Human Events – 14 August, 2013 – “Forgivable – but Justified?”
What sort of kid does that? Yesterday, Joshua Phillips, who was found guilty of killing his 8-year-old neighbor (Maddie Clifton) was again sentenced to Life Without Parole. Not a chance to ever live as a free adult. He was 14 when he says a bat hit Maddie in the cheek and he accidentally killed her trying to quiet her. They didn’t disprove that, and there was no assault otherwise. So… I mean that kid didn’t go next door to kill that little girl, he made a bad decision with tragic results. These two… they had their weapons and they went… Read more »
“Justice is this country is just so screwed up”
What are you talking about? In any other developed (and not developed) country these two were going free after 4-6 years. And in Scandinavia or Germany 13-year-olds can’t be charged at all as the age of criminal responsibility there is 14. Any case, no kids before 18 are sentenced as adults in any place in the wold except US.
Wrong. The age is 10 here in the UK.
England is an exception here.
In Scotland it was changed to 12. In England it is (yet) 10, but today you can’t arrest a child before 12. And the minimum age for trying as adult in GB is 14. The maximum sentence for juveniles at adult court is 20 to life. But even in very cruel cases it was 15-17 to life.
Who cares…if these 2 savages can kill a poor grandma I can only imagine what they’ll be capable of at 49. They deserve what she got which is death. They knew RIGHT from WRONG. You can’t change evil…nature vs. Nurture
Maybe research before commenting next time? 🙄
Joshua Phillips also, strangled her with a phone cord, continued to beat her with the bat and then stabbed the little girl 11 times just before stashing her dead body in his waterbed. Please do not down play the heinous crimes of any of these children despite the reason behind it
You idiot, those are kids, EVERYONE, no matter how cruel a crime, deserves a second chance. I shed tears thinking about my great grandmother in that position amd i know those kids already regret it so badly, for the rest of my life
You idiot, any kid who would do something like that doesn’t deserve a second chance.
Dude, you’re the idiot if you think that they should have leniency just because they are young. I’d honestly rather see them get the death penalty, but I guess 31-life will have to do.
You must be mentally challenged like they claim Nathan was if you think this crime is excusable. They could have just taken the money because she was an elderly woman but they decided to kill her. And the fact that they hit her 27 times should speak for itself. Only very ignorant people would think these kids deserve any leniency at all.
It has been proven that the minds of children are different. I am certainly not the same person I was at 14. On the flip side, many adults who have done worse than this are walking free. Children are not adults and shouldn’t be treated as such. The so-called “land of the free” is the only country that sentences kids to die in prison. We also have the largest prison population in the world and some of the harshest prisons in the world. I don’t care what happens to adult killers, but children are different.
Did you know not to viciously murder people at 13? Huh. Me too. Weird. The brains of children are different, but you and everyone else defending things like this seem to forget that you can literally just think back on being that age. You KNOW these kids knew what they were doing and that it was wrong.
“Children are not adults and shouldn’t be treated as such.” YES they should when it comes to cold blooded MURDER! none of us HERE have ever killed anyone, we’re not talking about a kid making a bad choice to steal a candy bar from a store or a bike parked by a tree- either of which would be EASY to rectify with a punishment and restitution, but this is MURDER, there is someone who cant live THEIR life because of these two pieces of trash! the only way they deserve any second chance is if they can raise the DEAD… Read more »
The lady already lived her life. Your 90 years of revenge fantasy is just pathetic. Go outside.
I understand Frank. If someone brutally kills either of your parents, they don’t deserve quite the punishment they would if they killed a college student because your parents have lived long lives and are now disposable. That makes a ton of sense. That, sir, is pathetic.
Hey high speed…feel free to find a country you find more suitable. Off you go.
Your a pure retard if you think your statement is valid
You are a fucking moron. These monsters deserve to be executed in a public square.
NO Way does this garbage deserve any second chance! the one was even smirking in court, the tears were what their lawyers told them to put on display to sway the jury. Keep them in a cell until dead of old age
I hope u get cancer and die
They knew better and did it anyway. The rest of society agreed. Thank DOG adults run the show, and not effed up kids.
then a murdering Nazi such as Eichmann according to your way of thinking (“everyone, no matter how cruel a crime…”) would deserve a second chance? No way! You stick to this wrong idea that teenagers are by nature poor innocent creatures, I can tell you they are not. I am a man with a handicap and I was attacked, punched, and thrown down by a group of six 15-year-old teenagers for trying to just stop their bullying of a young woman of the same age, as spectators watched. I didn’t insult them, I didn’t hurt them, I just asked them… Read more »
I have felt like my life was in danger for asking a kid nicely to do the job for which they are getting paid. I fear for the future because there are so many kids who do not care about anyone or anything except themselves and have absolutely ZERO moral compass or humanity. Absolutely no value for others property or lives. Scary AF.
So are you saying that a kid can go ahead and commit any crime they wish, no matter the consequences? and they can get off scot free because of their age? .. Whoa, Imagine if they came under the influence of say someone like charles manson? An army of 12 year old killers, that can not be charged.
I apologize for my english. Rejoice in your justice system, it is really objective in this case. In many countries, including Russia, these two monsters would not even go to prison as they are 13 years old. This gives rise to a feeling of impunity for adolescents and only increases the number of such crimes. Sometimes excessive humanism is inappropriate and only harms.
Including Russia? I am sorry Sir, but you are wrong. The boys would have been sent to a camp for juvenile criminals and left there for years, most of the time without any possibility for their family to visit them since those camps are miles away from towns and even villages. The system doesn’t pretend to rehabilitate the boys, it is here to punish them. Если вы русский, то знаете это не хуже меня.
He also stabbed her to death to get her to stop screaming so that his mother wouldn’t hear.
The kind of kid that is raised being beaten like a slave or an animal.
Kids doing heinous crimes to animals and other kids is as American as apple pie.
That’s right Frank, that’s what all us American kids did growing up. We all tortured animals, other kids, and our great grandparents. You, sir, are an idiot.
Too bad you dont research your facts before defending murderers. It was later revealed Joshua Phillips did not accidentally kill the little girl, she was found only waering socks and a shirt. No underwear, They found violent underage porn on Joshua Phillips computers along with books on witchcraft and satanism.
Joshua Phillips murder was no accident..he lied
Wow🤔cold hearted how can you killed ur own grandma 😢😢let them rot in jail,they didn’t feel remorse for her,why should we,they didn’t giv her a second chance, they dnt deserved on either,😢😢r
Neither boy should ever be released. Antonio killed his own great grandma. Whaaaat the hell? Even IF he has a issue after an accident and even IF his friend had a low IQ…Both know right from wrong. I hope that pizza and pot was good…cause it cost them a lot. Neither need released because they took a life. A life for a life. If you can take a life you can get life or give your life due to getting the death penalty! Sick of people thinking they can kill and get a slap on the wrist. Personally…I think if… Read more »
Well sorry, but this is America, not North Korea.
You cannot think like that if your intention is justice. The punishment you speak of is called revenge and the Law cannot be righteous if it is vengeance. Otherwise, it has no right to tell people what to do. It must be at a higher standard. Free your mind
Fuck? Maybe the muslims are right..an eye for an eye etc.. because dickheads like you would have all these depraved lunatics running around killing innocent people with impunity, AND they could get away with it, due to their age. If you csn commit these heinous crimes at such a young age, and not be judged, then imagine what they could be like as an adult.
You have no clue obviously of what righteous justice is. Or even how all this works. You base your judgements on your emotions. Which makes you terrible at it. Nothing says you can’t lock them away for life if it fits the crime . But for law to be something worth following it has to behave better than the evil and criminal minded. If the cops could go around executing people on site guess what? A lot of people are not gonna follow their law. I wouldn’t .
These kids are fucking absolute jokes what kind of crazy ass psychotic fuck goes and does that to a person especially if it’s your grandma wtf
hope they get beaten to death in prison 😀
Me too!!! slow and hard that’s what they both deserve and these whiny right wing god apologists who yammer on about how they are JUST poor innocent children with undeveloped brains and deserve a second chance and yada yada yada- skrew you and the the donkey your jesus rode in on anyway!
I don’t think it’s “right wing god apologists” buddy. wtf are you on about?
So angry about God? I feel like you could use a hug right after we chain them to a tractor trailer bumper, headed out of town. Is a God apologist really a thing. And why are they out on the wing. Specifically the right one? Why not the left? Is there nobody apologizing to God on the left wing? You think if they were flying they might just be thanking God instead of apologizing to him. So many questions. A lot of what have yous and what nots. There were incidents and accidents, hints and allegations. Not a lot of… Read more »
What a shame!!!! No right wing person that I know would say give them a 2nd chance, an eye for an eye….how stupid some people are in this world!! You need to leave Jesus out of your uneducated comments!!!
I’m speechless. It’s as if our youth are becoming psychotic and heartless. Their ability to value life is gone! This is scary!
Crime is way down, lady. And everyone is psychotic and heartless.
What do you expect when you raise a kid by beating them. This is what you get.
I was raised by being beaten, and I’ve never killed or harmed anyone. Now what?
Its not that kids are worse these days its that news travels faster and farther.
Spell Murderers!!!! Can you spell it?
May they burn in hell. And the “parents” who created these monsters should burn in hell as well.
Honestly you have to look at thier home life…. A lot of times these childeren who kill, rape another is only doing what seems to them as possibly normal… There is no excuse to kill this grandma when you could have easily robbed her abd left her alone…and with the amount of aggression and how many times the lady was hit there has to be more to this case cause thats a lot of anger to hit someone with any object tbat many times
They look as if they are sporting 70’s news anchor wigs, god what a horrible hair style.
First sign of “bro” culture, those stupid flinging haircuts. And being a fragile-ego’d white boy. So the first manly thing to do is beat your grandmother. M’kay.
You’re exactly right about that!
Rot in hell Tito. You murdered my aunt.
Why did the mom just drop off 2 13 year old boys when she knew one was a run away? No parental supervision led to this. better parenting, a life dedicated to our Lord would have led to their lacking morality. Lord have mercy