MERRILL - Mark Bucki sat shackled in Lincoln County Court Thursday while prosecutors brought damning evidence against him.
He’s the Merrill man accused of killing his wife, Anita Bucki, back in April.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mark Gartmann told the court about his department’s investigation.
Mark Bucki called police to say his wife went missing April 26.
"There was no concern in his voice. I noticed that it was a matter-of-fact type tone. He appeared to be confused about whether or not it was 24 hours before he had to report this, but there was no urgency in his voice," Gartmann said.
Things got even more suspicious when Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies got to the Buckis' home.
"The driveway had been freshly graded, and he did not notice any vehicle tracks or footprints leading up to the residence, which he thought was rather strange," Gartmann said.
Strange - and suspicious enough for Sergeant Chad Collinsworth to call for help.
"I received a phone call from Collinsworth indicating there were some very suspicious circumstances, and I believe his exact words were 'you need to get out here'," Gartmann said.
Gartmann testified about what else deputies found: Anita's car, keys, and jacket left behind.
Carpet ripped out in one of the bedroooms.
A shallow but empty gravesite near the home.
On May 10, a couple walking in the woods in Taylor County found a woman's body.
The woman had seven stab wounds to the chest, and severe bruising around her neck, as though she had been strangled.
Gartmann testified that Bucki didn't call to ask about his wife on May 10, 11, 12, or even 13.
In fact, it was Gartmann that contacted him.
Dental records proved the body was Anita.
Bloodhounds found her husband's scent where her body was found.
Gartmann said that relatives and friends told him that's where Mark Bucki often hunted.
Also in court, we learned why Mark might have wanted Anita dead.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office pieced together text messages, emails, and conversations with Bucki to try to answer that question.
Prosecutors point to the Buckis' marital problems as a motive.
Gartmann recounted a conversation where Bucki told a deputy his wife wanted to save the marriage - but he didn't.
"She was adamant about wanting to stay with Mark. She wanted very much to stay with him, and that Mark basically did not want to remain in the marriage, and at some point in time, Mark made the comment that he was okay with the fact that the two of them would go their separate ways, but she was aware of a girlfriend of his, and that she would contact that girlfriend and also the girlfriend's husband," he said.
During his testimony, Gartmann read letters Bucki wrote to his girlfriend from jail.
"It states, 'My to be happiest summer were turned to my worst because of Anita! The feelings I had left for her sure are gone since I been stuck in here'," Gartmann testified on the stand.
Bucki's defense attorneys argued against most of the evidence, because DNA and blood results aren't back from the crime lab yet.
But the judge decided there was enough evidence to go forward with the case.
His lawyers also requested his bond be reduced from $2 million to $100,000.
Tibetan Monks create a sand mandala at Northcentral Technical College
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
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