Sturtevant man pleads not guilty to killing man in farmhouse

CREATED Oct. 3, 2012

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STURTEVANT - A man from Sturtevant pleaded not guilty in a Racine courtroom after being accused of killing a man while trying to steal a motorcycle.

The shooting happened while family and friends were in Yorkville to attend a funeral.

Scott Mertins, Sr. sat next to his attorney while in court, accused of a crime that shocked many in this rural community.

"It's just a small farm community," said Vic Green.  "It's us and farmers, and that's pretty much it."

Prosecutors argue that Mertins shot and killed the victim, Robert Greene, while he was sleeping in a pole barn.

The barn belonged to Mertins' former employer.  He was supposedly there to steal a motorcycle and bottles of booze.

Mertins told investigators that Greene startled him, so Mertins shot Greene.

According to the criminal complaint, when deputies arrived, they found Greene by the barn.

He was unresponsive, but he had his eyes open.

After the shooting, Mertins left the state, but authorities arrested him days later in Missouri.

He faces four felony counts.

Mertins was to face a courtroom again in November.  If he is convicted on all charges, he faces up to 90 years in prison.