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.
TOMAHAWK - If you feel stir-crazy this time of year, taking a quick drive Tuesday afternoon might help.
Hometown Chiropractic in Rhinelander and Tomahawk hopes to spread smiles during, "Sunshine on the Streets."
The doctors will wave signs with their favorite positive quotes starting at 12:30 in the afternoon.
Chiropractors normally work to get your physical health in check, but they want to help your mental health, too.
"I want to say we are one of the smaller countries in the world, but we take almost 80 percent of the world's anti-depressants. So we want to make sure we have positivity energy and positive thoughts because it will help us heal better and feel better," says Dr. Grace Zuiker Nash.
"Sunshine on the Streets" also marks the First Official Day of Spring.
MADISON (AP) - An environmental organization and the U.S. Forest Service are working together to harvest timber in northern Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the 2014 Farm Bill has allowed the two groups to enter into a stewardship agreement. The conservancy will hire loggers, sell timber and use the proceeds for projects the Forest Service can't afford to do.
The conservancy plans to use some money to restore Simpson Creek by rerouting the channel and exposing the gravel floor that fish need to spawn. The group also plans to rebuild a handicap accessible boardwalk on the Oconto River and will use funds to restore habitat for the endangered Kirtland's warbler.
Forest Supervisor Paul Strong says the Forest Service's budget has been stretched by efforts to fight wildfire that have become more frequent and more intense.
RHINELANDER - Some members of the Hyms and Hyrs singing group have shared a stage together for more than 30 years. However, they almost had to stop when one of their key members passed away. "When it all works really well, nothing can top it," said Hyms and Hyrs singer Corky. The 25 members of the Hyms and Hyrs singing group are used to hitting the right rhythm together.
"We have a lot of fun," said Hyms and Hyrs singer Jim Priovolos. However, when the group's director and founder of the group died, they thought they would have to put their beats on hold. "We were wondering where we were going to end up with that," said Hyms and Hyrs singer Ken. Just a few months before their talent showcase at Nicolet College Sunday, Priovolos stepped in. "I feel very honored to be conducting them," said Priovolos. Priovolos got the group to pick up exactly where they left off. "He's kept us going," said Ken.
TOMAHAWK - A popular Tomahawk event welcomed a sold out crowd over the weekend. 350 people attended the 15th annual Taste of Tomahawk. Local restaurants, breweries and wineries displayed the best they had to offer at the Inshallah Country Club. Organizer Jesica said the event successfully shows what Tomahawk has to offer. "We want to feature the region and all the wonderful things we have to offer. So we hope we get a lot of folks to come to Taste of Tomahawk, that maybe don't visit us other times of year. We can really show them what Tomahawk's all about," said Jesica.
Some vendors used the event as an opportunity to show products and flavors people may not be familiar with. The Silver Birch Supper Club has attended Taste of Tomahawk since the beginning. "[It's great] seeing it grow, from just starting out to seeing what it is today. The costumes are great. Great costumes for St. Patty's Day," said Silver Birch Supper Club General Manager Chris Copiskey,
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