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NEWS STORIES

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

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com


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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/28/2015

- After years of rumbling over potholes, drivers in Rhinelander will soon be able to travel smoothly over Lincoln Street. The city will completely resurface the busiest part of the road starting Monday. We'll have what drivers need to know.

- Veterinarians in the Northwoods have been treating more cases of heartworm in dogs lately. The illness can leave a foot-long parasite in your dog's body. We take a look at treatment and prevention.

- The Northwoods attracts campers from all across the state every summer. But tonight at 5, we'll introduce you to some Boy Scouts who ventured more than 3,000 miles to visit Langlade County.

- Learn more about spiny water flea, one of the newer invasive species in Northwoods lakes.

- And we'll look at the Wabeno Art and Music Fest, a first-year event coming up this weekend.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - A crash sent a driver to the hospital in Rhinelander Tuesday morning.

Police say a man driving a pickup truck ran into a parked car on Evergreen Court around 9 a.m.

The crash threw the parked car into the front yard of a nearby home.  No one else was hurt.

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RHINELANDER - As temperatures rise in the dog days of summer, knowing how to prevent and react to heat exhaustion can save a life.

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VILAS COUNTY - "Back in 2010, people wanted answers," says DNR Research Scientist Dr. Carl Watras, who works out of the UW-Madison Trout Lake Research Station in Boulder Junction.

Lake levels across the Northwoods were down. Way down.

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WABENO - Wabeno wants to draw more and more people to its small community by making improvements such as building new trails and hosting new cultural events.

This weekend, the town will host the first ever Wabeno Art and Music Fest. People in Wabeno say they have a unique passion for the arts.

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CHICAGO - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to see changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

He thinks the EPA should become an "umbrella organization," with most of its powers shifted to state regulators.

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RHINELANDER - We may soon need more substance abuse counselors in the Northwoods. The demand for trained counselors is expected to increase in the next ten years.

That's why Nicolet College will offer a new technical diploma this fall for substance abuse counseling. The diploma is set up to benefit both students and professionals wanting to learn more.

"It will augment really, well people who are already in the helping and counseling professions like nurses, social workers and therapists," said Lenore Blemke, Dean of Health Occupations for Nicolet College. "This will give them an additional credential."

Counselors can be found at places like Koinonia treatment center in Rhinelander.

Koinonia has several substance abuse counselors who help people recognize their addictions and how they may affect their lives.

"It's really neat to see individually what they start to recognize about their addiction and how that has impacted them personally and for them to start to get to know themselves, aside from who they are with their substance use," said Jessica Krueger, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Therapist at Koinonia Treatment Center.

The training involves 28 credits in related subjects. Nicolet will offer the program both in the classroom and online.

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