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Appeals Continuing for Deceased Man Convicted of Murder

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Walworth County Criminal LawyerDuring a criminal investigation, it is not uncommon for police officers to mislead or even outright lie to suspects in an effort to get them to confess to the crimes in question. For example, an officer might tell a suspect that the suspect’s friend identified the suspect as the perpetrator of the crime, even if the friend said no such thing. While this practice is highly controversial, courts throughout the country have upheld countless convictions and plea deals in cases that involved such deception.

Another type of deception, however, is now being challenged in a 46-year-old murder case from Marinette County. In this case, the deceit is related to how the suspect’s DNA was obtained, long after the case went cold. Even more unusual is the fact that the man who was convicted of the murder died in prison earlier this year, but the appeals are continuing anyway.

A Quick Recap

The case in question was the 1976 double-murder of a young couple in a park in Marinette County, Wisconsin. After an extensive police investigation, the case went cold and remained unsolved until just a couple of years ago.

In 2019, investigators tested DNA found at the crime scene and determined that the DNA was from a particular family. Two brothers were found to not be matches, so the police sent a sheriff’s deputy to the house of a third brother, asking him to complete a survey regarding police performance. The third brother completed the survey and returned it—after licking the envelope to seal it.

The survey, however, was phony, and the whole plan was an effort to collect the man’s DNA. Police then took a DNA sample from the envelope and found it to be a match to the DNA found at the scene. The man—who was now 82 years old—was tried and convicted of the double murder and sentenced to prison, where he died in June.

The Appeal

The man’s lawyers challenged the use of deception to obtain DNA, but the challenge was denied by the trial court. Last week, his attorney filed a 12-page petition with the District III Court of Appeals claiming that the man had an expectation of privacy regarding his DNA.

The appeal filing acknowledges that “some deceit on behalf of the police” is tolerated by the law but claims that deception related to voluntary consent is unacceptable. The filing goes on to argue that a reasonable person would not recognize returning a survey as consenting to the collection of his or her DNA.

The Attorney General’s office has not yet responded to the filing but must do so by October 10, 2022.

Speak With a Milwaukee Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are under investigation related to any type of criminal activity and you believe the police are deceiving you, contact an experienced Waukesha County criminal defense lawyer at Bucher Law Group, LLC. Call 262-303-4916 to get the help you need to protect your rights and your best interests. Free consultations are available.





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