Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Former Aurora pharmacist accused of intentionally destroying vaccine released from jail; charges uncertain until vials tested by Moderna

From JSOnline:
Bruce Vielmetti
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


PORT WASHINGON -- The pharmacist suspected of intentionally spoiling 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine at a Grafton hospital because he believed they were unsafe was released from jail Monday, after a prosecutor indicated he's not positive the vaccine was actually destroyed.

Steven R. Brandenburg, 46, of Grafton, had concerns the vaccines could change people's DNA (they can't) and his estranged wife said in a divorce record that in early December, he'd brought her a water purifier and 30-day food supply because the world was "crashing down," via government cyberattacks and power grid shutdowns.

Last week, the wife said she no longer felt safe around him, and a court commissioner temporarily ordered that the couple's children not stay with Brandenburg.

Brandenburg was arrested last week and had been ordered held on a probable cause statement from Grafton police that he likely committed two felonies — first-degree recklessly endangering safety, and criminal damage to property.

Steven Brandenburg, 46, was booked Thursday on similar preliminary charges — criminal damage to property and second-degree recklessly endangering safety, both felonies — to the man Grafton Police say intentionally ruined more than 500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

He appeared via Zoom from the Ozaukee County Jail for an initial court appearance Monday afternoon, as did his attorney, Jason Baltz of Mequon. Baltz said later that neither he nor his client wanted to comment to news media.

But Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol told Circuit Judge Paul Malloy that the hospital had "walked back" some of the information on which police had relied, that the vials in question have not since been destroyed, but are still in the hospital's possession and might even still be viable.

Read more: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2021/01/04/wisconsin-vaccine-destroyed-left-out-aurora-grafton-pharmacist-steven-brandenburg-released-from-jail/4125624001/

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