Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

UPDATE: Merrill man gets life sentence, opportunity to petition after 33 years; still says he's innocentSubmitted: 07/03/2014
Story By Adam Fox

UPDATE: Merrill man gets life sentence, opportunity to petition after 33 years; still says he's innocent
MERRILL - A 50-year-old Merrill man will spend at least 33 years in prison after being sentenced Thursday. A jury found Mark Bucki guilty in April of three counts connected to the murder and disappearance of his wife Anita.

The jury found Bucki guilty of three charges including first degree intentional homicide, strangling a person and hiding a body. The homicide charge was the most significant count determining Bucki's sentence because it carries a mandatory life sentence, but that doesn't guarantee spending life in prison.

Under state law, a mandatory life sentence carries a minimum of 20 years in prison, with the chance to petition for extended supervision afterwards. The extended supervision isn't guaranteed and would be determined by judicial leaders in the future after the minimum time in prison is met.

After more than two hours of statements, Judge Jay Tlusty sentenced Bucki to life in prison with a chance to petition after 35 years. Bucki won't get to petition for extended supervision until May 2048, after adding credit for time already served in county jail.

Judge Tlusty also sentenced Bucki to three years of prison and four years of extended supervision for the two remaining counts. Lincoln County District Attorney Donald Dunphy wanted Bucki to be sentenced to life in prison without the chance to petition, but he ultimately agrees with the sentence.

"35 years is a long time, and Mr. Bucki will be 84 or 85 by that time," Dunphy said.

Anita Bucki's family also wanted Mark Bucki to spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance for a petition. Her brother, Cliff Brown, made that clear in a letter that was read to the court.

"He deserves to pay for what he has done, he deserves to rot in a cell until the day he dies, then find a ditch and throw him in it like he did to my sister," Brown wrote in his statement.

However Mark and Anita's son, Clint, was hoping for leniency from Judge Tlusty. He has said multiple times throughout the case that his father was innocent, so he was hoping for a minimum sentence.

"I'm afraid something might happen to him while he's in there, and I won't be around to say good bye. Your honor, I need my papup, Alauna (Clint's daughter) needs her grandpa and I urge you to give my dad leniency." Clint Bucki said.

When given the opportunity to comment before the sentencing, Mark Bucki took the opportunity to say all he wanted was the best for Anita, and that he still loved her.

"If I could say I'm sorry for all of this, I would, because it would put so many people at rest," Bucki said. "But I can't because I am innocent."

Anita's sister Cheryl Cruse also spoke before the sentencing. She discussed her relationship with her sister and how Anita was always a rock to the family. Cruse says she'll still feel a void regardless of the decision.

"If only I could rewind the clock, I would gladly take the pain and suffering my sister endured during the last night of her life, just to have her back," Cruse said.

Prosecutors say Bucki plans on appealing the sentence.

If the sentence stands, Bucki would be in his mid-80's when he could petition for extended supervision, but Anita's family won't get the same second chance to see her again.

"My hard lessoned learned in this is to never leave things unsaid because you never know when it will be too late," Cruse said.

Judge Tlusty said that might be a positive lesson both families could take from the case.

The sentencing means Bucki will spend the rest of his life under the Wisconsin Correction Department's supervision.

--------------------------------------------------
July 3, 2014; 1:05 p.m.

A Lincoln County man convicted of killing his wife and hiding her body will spend at least 35 years in prison.

Thursday, a judge told 50-year-old Mark Bucki he could petition the court for release with extended supervision after serving 35 years in prison. Judicial leaders then would decide if he was fit to be released into the extended supervision program. He will spend the rest of his life somehow connected to the Wisconsin corrections system. Bucki could get credit for time served in county jail, reducing the time spent to 33 year in prison.

Bucki was convicted of first degree murder, hiding a body and strangling his wife, Anita.

The first degree murder charge carries a mandatory life sentence.

Newswatch 12's Adam Fox was in the courtroom. He'll bring you more information tonight on Newswatch 12.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.

Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.

Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.

But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.

+ Read More

BESSEMER, MI - Search teams found a 65-year-old Woodruff woman dead in Michigan's Upper Peninsula Wednesday morning.

The Gogebic County Sheriff's Office searched Black River Harbor (which is north of Bessemer) after receiving information that the woman might be in the area.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it.  It's an extra task they're happy to help with.

The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16.  Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart.  The schools recommend students for the event.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - You might be planning on waiting in line on Black Friday or sitting behind a computer on Cyber Monday. But in Rhinelander and other Northwoods cities, Small Business Saturday is another day to mark on the calendar. 

Dawn Allen sold her goods at craft shows for years, but had always wanted to try something different. 

"It was my dream to open up a shop one day," said Allen, the owner of Briar House on Keenen Street.
So she opened Briar House in Rhinelander 21 years ago. 

Allen sells women's clothes, shoes, accessories and has a full espresso bar. 

But one of her favorite parts of the job is the community support. 

"It's like a family here, it's more of a destination coming here I believe," said Allen.

+ Read More

Play Video

CONOVER - People in Conover and Phelps came together with an idea to connect the two communities by bike trail. Seven years later, the Great Headwaters Trail foundation can see the end of that trail. 

Construction of the first 9 miles of the trail were completed this fall. The trail needs a little more than 2 miles until it's connected to Phelps.

+ Read More

TOMAHAWK - To sisters Kathy and Julia, Thanksgiving Day is about more than just turkey, potatoes, and prep work. 

"[It's] kind of always been a special holiday for my parents, who are no longer with us," said Julia Pankow. 

Kathy and Julia grew up in a large family with 11 other siblings, which meant a Thanksgiving Day meal was always as big in heart as it was in size.  

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - For the last six years, chambers of commerce across the state collected more than 100,000 items for the Department of Tourism's Big Bundle Up campaign.

The drive collects warm clothing for people who can't afford it. 

The Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce donates the items it collects to Warm for Winter in Rhinelander. 

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here