MERRILL - A Merrill-man accused of killing his wife and hiding her body will take the stand in Lincoln County court, according to defense attorneys Monday.
Mark Bucki, 50 , faces three charges in connection to the 2013 murder of his wife Anita. He faces a charge of first-degree homicide, a charge of hiding a body and a charge of strangling a person. Attorneys plan on making their closing arguments Tuesday. The jury will begin deliberating afterwards.
Defense attorneys for Bucki tried to dismiss the case Monday morning.They argued there wasn't enough forensic evidence to move forward, but the judge ruled there was enough evidence for the case to go to a jury decision.
--DNA and Samples--
DNA and blood samples could make the difference for the jury in the case. A number of specialists and DNA analysts testified in court Monday. Specialists said the evidence couldn't genetically show if Bucki did or didn't murder his wife.
Investigators took more than 30 samples from the Bucki property west of Merrill in April 2013. That included samples from an ATV, a pickup truck, an ATV trailer and a pair of boots. Prosecutors believe Bucki used the vehicles to move his wife after she was murdered.
Bart Nagle is a DNA analyst. He testified in court Monday that he thinks he found blood on the ATV, but he couldn't add much more information or context. "You can't tell us if that was from a human or an animal?" Bucki's Defense Attorney James Lex asked.
"I cannot, and I cannot even really tell you if it is blood or not," Nagle said. "There are things that will also give a positive test in that presumptive test."
Presumptive tests try to prove a specific body tissue or fluid is on the sample being tested. Nagle said he found some traces of DNA on samples, but there wasn't a large enough sample to do more advanced, accurate testing.
"Some were trace, some amount of DNA, and some were zero," Nagle said.
"But some of that had trace amounts of DNA?" Assistant State Attorney General Richard Dufour asked.
"Yes that is correct," Nagle said.
"Just not enough for you to test them?" Dufour asked.
"Right, that is correct," Nagle said.
Investigators found the samples using luminol, a chemical spray that glows when it reacts to iron found in blood. Luminol is only a presumptive test and should be used in conjunction with a second field presumptive test and followed by laboratory analysis if sufficient amounts of staining are detected, according to a Lightning Powder Company publication.
Witnesses say none of the samples came back as Anita Bucki's blood. Nagle said the evidence couldn't show if Bucki did or didn't kill his wife.
--Possible Impact from Cleaners on Samples--
Prosecutors believe Mark Bucki used bleach and other cleaners to tidy up his truck and home after allegedly killing his wife Anita. DNA analysts said Monday the chemicals would clean up blood, and they would also make it more challenging to accurately label samples when testing.
Investigators testifying last week said they smelled a strong orange cleaner in the Bucki's garage the day Anita disappeared. They also found cleaner in a room with torn up carpet. Nagle said the cleaner would make it more difficult to find a DNA match to possible blood samples.
"I'm not 100 percent sure how bleach would affect the presumptive test," Nagle said "I do know it would destroy the DNA."
Prosecutors say the cleaner at the Bucki home was CaviCide, which you can use it to disinfect surfaces. Anna Schmitz, Wisconsin State Crime Lab, testified they use the same cleaner to sterilize surfaces in their labs.
"Would that include blood samples that you are maintaining? " Dufour asked.
"Yes," Schmitz said.
"Does it do a good job?" Dufour asked.
"I believe so," Schmitz said.
Defense attorneys reminded the jury the cleaner was for surfaces and not carpets. It was found next to a large section of open floor where carpet had been torn up. According to testimony and evidence presented in the case, the section was torn up and burned the same day Anita Bucki disappeared.
She was found dead near Highway C in a swampy area in Taylor County in May 2013. Mark Bucki was arrested in connection to the disappearance and murder on May 13, 2013.
Day seven of the trial will begin Tuesday morning at 8:15 a.m. on the second floor of the Lincoln County courthouse in Merrill. The jury could decide a verdict as early as Tuesday evening.
RHINELADER - During the summer months, camps look forward to welcoming campers and counselors.
They certainly don't look forward to those hot and humid days that make it hard to enjoy being outdoors.
This week, Rhinelander's Camp Birchrock has focused on keeping their campers cool all day long.
"We've been getting in the water, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Doing a lot of fun things to keep us cool," said 11-year-old Genevion Boid.
This is his first year as a camper at Birchrock.
Camp Director Johanna Sommers says the heat hasn't stopped them from doing any activities, but they do remain mindful of the sun.
"We make sure that they're drinking water all day," Sommers said. "Water bottles are a must and sunscreen, especially. We put it on every hour at least."
Luckily at the camp there's a lot of shade created by trees, giving the campers and counselors some relief from all of that heat. In a lot of areas around the camp, they also have water fountains.
In addition to keeping the campers hydrated, counselors also make sure to limit time in the sun.
"We do a little bit less of hiking and sports field activities, because the sports field is kind of open to the sun," Sommers said. "We try not to do too much out there just so they don't get overheated and over exhausted."
12-year-old Eleanor Domnick says she doesn't mind the heat. It gives her a chance to enjoy the outdoors.
"It's really fun to go swimming and just go in the play field and hang out with your friends," Domnick said.
The campers at Camp Birchrock are sure enjoying staying cool, while also having some fun.
The camp offers overnight sessions and regular day camp programs every summer.
LANGLADE COUNTY - A dead crow found in Langlade County last week tested positive for West Nile virus. It's the first crow to test positive in Langlade County since surveillance started for the virus on May 1.
The Langlade County Health Department wants people to be more careful when trying to prevent mosquito bites. The virus is spread to humans through infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes get the virus from infected birds.
MADISON - State attorneys have asked a federal judge to stay a ruling allowing people to vote without photo identification pending an appeal.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee issued a preliminary injunction this week allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explain why they couldn't get the identification.
RHINELANDER - Emergency first responders save lives and build trust in the community.
And now the Rhinelander Police Department has a new member to do that.
They swore in the new officer Friday morning.
Mark Raddatz and his family gathered at the Rhinelander City Hall for the ceremony.
Raddatz is excited to be in Rhinelander and to make a positive impact in the community.
"I think it's very important for people to know what we do and how involved we are with the community and how much good we do. A lot of times people don't see us doing all the behind the scenes things and good acts," said Raddatz.
Raddatz is the 17th member on the police force, making the department full again. That addition will help with involvement around town as well.
"We have the ability to do extra programming out in the community. Our officers have more time to spend building more positive relationships within the community, instead of just reacting to calls," said Police Chief Michael Steffes.
Raddatz has worked in other departments across Wisconsin and he's looking forward to being in Rhinelander.
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