Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Informants testify in sixth day of Torgerson trial Submitted: 03/20/2017
Story By Stephanie Haines

Informants testify in sixth day of Torgerson trial
WAUSAU - One week into what could be a three-week trial, a jury finally heard from witnesses who may have played big roles in helping investigators move the case against Kristopher Torgerson forward.

Torgerson is accused of killing Stephanie Low in 2010 and burying her body.

Monday, his then-girlfriend, Andrea Wadinski, took the stand.


She testified that she led Torgerson to her mother's cabin in Forest County on the day investigators believe Low disappeared. The cabin is near where Low's body was eventually found.

But Wadinski didn't admit that to police until three years later. She testified on Monday that she lied to police multiple times in the first couple years of the investigation.

Wadinski said she lied mainly because she said she was afraid of Torgerson.

It wasn't until February 2013 that Wadinski admitted to police what they think is the truth--that Wadinski led 
Torgerson, who police believe had Low's body, to Low's burial place in Forest County.

On the night of Oct. 9, 2010, Wadinski testified, she was watching Torgerson's kids while he went out. Wadinski testified that Torgerson came home in the early-morning hours of Oct. 10. 

"He said he did something to E's girl and then he made a motion," Wadinski said. "He made a motion across his neck."

Then, she testified Torgerson asked her for directions to her mother's cabin near Wabeno later that same day. 

"I was too upset to give him directions, and I had said that I would just have to take him up there," Wadinski said. 

She testified that she then met up with Torgerson and his friend, Richard Hawkins, at a gas station. She said she then led them to the Wabeno area, with her baby and Torgerson's children in the car. She said she left shortly after they all arrived at the cabin. 

The jury later learned that story is not the one Wadinski told police for more than two years. Torgerson's defense attorney, Thomas Wilmouth, questioned Wadinski about her police interviews from 2010 to 2012. At Monday's trial, she testified that she lied in those interviews. 

"Through the course of these six interviews, you never told police about what you did, right?" Wilmouth asked. 

"That's correct," Wadinski responded.

It wasn't until February 2013 that Wadinski finally told police a different story, the one they believe to be the truth. Investigators then presented her with her cellphone records that showed she was at least in the Antigo area, which is on the way to the cabin, on Oct. 10, 2010. Wadinski testified that she wasn't honest with police because she was afraid of Torgerson. 

"I've always had an intention to tell the truth; I am just too afraid of the defendant," Wadinski said.
Wadinski has not been charged in this case. She did testify that she considers her involvement a serious crime, and she did testify that she was sorry for not being honest with police. 

"As you're going through these six interviews, you realized you helped hide the corpse, right?" Wilmouth asked. 

After a long pause, Wadinski replied, "Yes." 

Wadinski testified on the witness stand for more than six hours on Monday. When both the state and the defense had finished questioning her, another witness took the stand. 

Richard Hawkins testified that he met Torgerson when they lived in Alabama years ago. Hawkins said he moved to Wisconsin to live with Torgerson and find work. 

Just after midnight on Oct. 10, 2010, Hawkins testified, Torgerson woke him up and drove him to Low's apartment. He said Torgerson had a key to get in. He said that after they entered, he saw Low's body on the bed, wrapped in bed sheets. He said he could see blood coming from her neck. 

"I said, 'What did you do?' He didn't answer me the first time. I said again, 'What did you do to her?' He replied, 'She didn't give me what I wanted,'" Hawkins testified. 

Hawkins testified that he helped Torgerson carry the body to his car. Later that morning, Hawkins said he and Torgerson met Wadinski at a gas station. He said they followed Wadinski to the cabin near Wabeno. 
Hawkins said he and Torgerson went to go buy a shovel and later drove through the woods.

"And when he started digging, he mentioned to me that I need to help him move a rock out of the way," Hawkins said.

Eventually the two rolled the rock over the spot where the body was buried, Hawkins said. The witness added that a car drove past them while they were digging, and he said Torgerson told him to hide behind the car. 

When they were done and driving back, Hawkins said Torgerson broke and scattered parts of Low's phone out of the window. He said they put the sheets in a dumpster and threw the shovel in a pond near Wadinski's home. 

The next day, Hawkins testified, Torgerson told him about the safe full of drugs in Low's apartment. Hawkins said Torgerson told him he wanted to go back to the apartment and get the safe. 

A few weeks later, Hawkins said he moved to California. 

On Tuesday, Wilmouth will cross examine Hawkins. The prosecution is still presenting its case.

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





 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.

This weekend Land O Lakes is hosting its colorama. Land O Lakes has held a colorama for about 35 years.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - A well known sex offender in this area will get out of prison again.  Albert Chagnon, 35, is set to be released into Oneida County on Tuesday.

Chagnon was convicted of child pornography possession in 2003.

He was released in 2014, but soon ended up under arrest again for using newspaper clippings of girls' pictures to make a booklet.  That booklet had more than 270 photos in it, many from the Lakeland Times.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - People usually drop off canned goods and other non-perishable food items as donations. But on Friday, dozens of kids and adults picked potatoes in Rhinelander to help area food pantries. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Pretty much everyone in northern Wisconsin knows about the Hodag.  People living in southern Mexico likely don't.  But a Mexican-made handcrafted Hodag will now help Rhinelander students go to college.

Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation member Harlan Larson and his wife went to Oaxaca, Mexico several years ago and met famous woodcarver Armando Jimenez there.  The couple learned Jimenez had traveled to Wisconsin in the past, but he hadn't ventured north of Baraboo.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Kid got outside and got active at the YMCA of the Northwood's Fit Kids Duathalon tonight. 

Three age groups competed in the running and biking events. 

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. 

"It's rugged enough that you have to have a little bit or stamina and a little bit or grit to actually make it through the course," said YMCA Aquatics and Youth and Family Director Matt Steingraber. 
 
Some of the kids even trained for the event. 

The top three in each age group got awards. 

The main purpose of the event was to get kids out of the house and doing something to keep them fit and active. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Veterans can be some of the hardest workers. That's the message local business owners heard in Rhinelander on Friday.

Nicolet College hosted the Veterans Business Workshop.

The objective was to tell businesses why they should hire local veterans.

Guest speaker from Wisconsin's Veterans Chamber of Commerce Saul Newton says veterans can bring strong and diverse skill sets into the work force.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Starting Monday, Northwoods Transit Connections riders will need to call 24 hours in advance to get around the Rhinelander, Minocqua, and Eagle River areas.

Many bus drivers will also voluntarily furlough their pay until federal funds come in.

The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission, which operates the popular public transit program, made the moves at a meeting Friday morning.

"What we're adjusting is some things internally around accessing an adequate fund supply," said Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here