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UPDATE: Northwoods woman guilty of all charges in OWI homicide trialSubmitted: 05/13/2014
Story By Adam Fox

UPDATE: Northwoods woman guilty of all charges in OWI homicide trial
MERRILL - A Lincoln County jury found a 26-year-old woman guilty of seven felonies in an OWI homicide trial, after coming to a verdict early Tuesday morning.

Ashley Baumann faced seven felony charges including two charges of homicide by intoxicated use of vehicle. Those were in connection to a June 2012 car crash that killed, 31-year-old Misty Glisch and 33-year old Jessica Hartwig.

After six days of the jury trial, Assistant Attorney General Tara Jenswold was pleased with the verdicts.

"After a long, involved trial, obviously we've gotten justice for the victims' families and we think the jury reached the right result," Jenswold said.

Defense attorneys argued in closing arguments Monday, there wasn't enough proof to show Baumann was driving, but the jury disagreed after seeing pictures of her in the driver's seat minutes before the crash.

Jenswold hopes the conviction serves as an example of what happens when people drink and get behind the wheel of a car.

"It sends the message that while it's something that a lot of people in the community do, it's not something that should go without consequences," Jenswold said. "And it shouldn't just be accepted because everybody does it."

Baumann was found guilty of all seven charges, but she was only convicted of four. The other three charges were dismissed, but read-in for the court.

Regardless, the convictions include two homicide charges. Each of those carries a 25-year maximum sentence.

The judge also revoked Baumann's bond, meaning she is now in police custody in jail. She had been out of jail, but coming to all of the court appearances because she had only been charged and not convicted of any crime. Her attorney said he will try to get her out of jail on a bond before her sentencing.

A sentencing date has not been set, but Jenswold hopes friends and family of those affected can now try to move on after two years of court proceedings.

"Offenses like this that involves a pretty good cross section of a small community, I think it is important to put that behind them, so people can continue to heal and move on," Jenswold said.

That might not come quickly for any family impacted by the crash.


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5/13/14, 9:38 a.m. Tuesday

Monday, the jury heard closing arguments from Baumann's lawyer, as well as final statements from the prosecution.

Baumann's lawyer argued that the state can't prove that Baumann was the one driving at the time of the crash.

Her lawyer brought up evidence that he thinks wasn't collected from the crash. He also said that one of the other girls in the car, Jerrica Woller, could have been the one driving.

"See the wiping pattern, try to figure that out. See the blood, see the shirt collar, see a hand print. Try to find out why there are finger swipes behind a cooler that's full of mud," says Wright Laufenberg, Baumann's lawyer.

The state argued that blood found and a picture taken before the crash proves Woeller was in the back seat.

The state showed a picture of Baumann in the driver seat of the car. The prosecution said the picture, her injuries and hair found in the car prove she was the one driving.

"Misty Glisch had no idea that in the final moments of her life she would capture very critical, crucial, information. Evidence that would help confirm where it was people were sitting in that vehicle. There are actually photos that show the defendent behind the wheel. And everyone in their respective spots," says Tara Jenswold, Assistant Attorney General.

The jury began deliberating Monday afternoon.

It returned guilty verdicts this morning.

Baumann will be sentenced later.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

LAND O' LAKES - Even though it may not feel like it, Autumn has officially begun. Plenty of towns in the Northwoods celebrate the season with a colorama.

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The five and under group ran around the building and biked through the parking lot, but the older age groups biked through the trails behind the YMCA. 

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She used to love the close proximity and the ability to walk to almost anything in town.

She has two young kids and regularly checks the sex offender registry. 

The Rhinelander mom wishes to stay anonymous. We'll refer to her as Linda. 

Linda found out a sex offender moved in a few doors down from her by flipping through a local newspaper, She saw a small box at the bottom page with a notification. 

"He kind of just snuck in," said Linda. 

William Huntington moved close to Linda's house in May. However, Linda says she knew nothing until she did research of her own in July. 

"When I saw what he was found guilty of I was in shock. I was in complete shock," said Linda. 

He was convicted in Dane County for repeatedly sexually assaulting his 8- year- old neighbor about twenty years ago. He's now required to wear a lifetime GPS monitoring system. 

Dana Wszalek works with the Department of Corrections in Rhinelander as a Regional Chief. Her office supervises people like Huntington in the community.

"What we do is not a cookie cutter type of approach to supervision; it's relative to what their risks are based on their case dynamics," said Wszalek. 

State law requires high risk sex offender to live at least 1,500 feet from churches, schools and playgrounds. Restrictions on other sex offenders are left to local offices. 

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says there are no ordinances for sex offenders in Oneida County.

"They have different life experiences. They are a part of the community," said Wszalek. 

Wszalek understands the wariness community members might feel.

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Linda said one of her 6- year- old child was planning on walking to school with friends this year, but instead they'll get driven.

"I feel like the neighborhood we moved into to be able to have these things has been taken away," said Linda.

Linda said she was shocked she didn't get a call or knock on her door from law enforcement.

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