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Judge looks at evidence during motion hearing in Mendez murder caseSubmitted: 12/13/2018
Rose McBride
Rose McBride
Reporter/Anchor
rmcbride@wjfw.com

Judge looks at evidence during motion hearing in Mendez murder case
ONEIDA COUNTY - Thursday morning, Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek argued an affair with a 15-year-old girl gave Robin Mendez motive to murder his wife, Barbara Mendez, in 1982. 

"There was the potential for that information and that affair to be released to other people in the community even the victim, Barbara," said Schiek. 

But Thursday Mendez's attorney argued the affair should not be a part of that evidence. Peter Prusinski said the affair began in the summer of 1981 and ended in the fall of 1982. Nothing stopped it from happening, even the murder.


"If this was relevant to motive, we could expect a change in behavior in the status of the affair. The affair was going on before and after the death of Barbara Mendez," said Prusinski. 

Judge Jill Falstad ultimately decided to allow the affair as evidence because it would provide intent for Mendez. 

This afternoon, lawyers and Judge Falstad met again, this time to determine whether D.A. Schiek can call a forensic expert as a witness in trial. Christopher Robinson, a private forensic consultant and expert in crime scene reconstruction, appeared via video. 

He used clay molds to show that Barbara's injuries were consistent with a hit to the head with a pry bar, which is often used in upholstery. That's the type of business Mendez's family owned. 

But Mendez's lawyer argued that this type of science is not precise enough and Robinson's testimony should not be accepted. 

"I do not believe there are sufficient facts and data that he used in his experimentation today to establish what he is testifying to and that the testimony is a product of reliable principles and methods," said Prusinski.

Judge Falstad heard both arguments, and well as questioning of Robinson, and will make a decision after reviewing all materials. 


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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man could face prison time after police arrested him in an online underage sex sting.  Oneida County prosecutors charged Adam Van Roy with three felonies on Monday.

A Wisconsin Department of Justice Special Agent working with the Oneida County Sheriff's Office posed as a 19-year-old woman named 'Julia G' on several social media applications March 13-15.  Van Roy, 36, started talking with 'Julia' during that time.  

'Julia' soon told Van Roy she was actually only 15 years old.

The agent's notes show Van Roy asked 'Julia' for pictures, including nude images, and asked her "what do you like in the bedroom?"

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CRANDON -
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A report of a noisy house party and fight near Crandon led to six drug-related arrests earlier this month.  Officers eventually found heroin, cocaine, and guns along with other drug items inside, but getting there took some extra work.

According to a release from the Forest County Sheriff's Office, police responded to a home at 7840 Love Knot Lane in the Town of Lincoln, which is east of Crandon, on March 7 around 7:15 p.m.

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CRANDON - Recently, flooding closed roads and frustrated communities from Rhinelander to Plover. A bad combination of rain and melting snow led to days of flood warnings. As those warnings go away, a related risk could do a lot more than frustrate you - it could make you sick. Flooding can cause contamination in wells, but the Northwoods is lucky to have a world-class water testing facility.

RT Krueger's Northern Lake Service in Crandon has about 50 specialized machines that test drinking water for half of the municipalities in Wisconsin. Krueger tests Rhinelander's water three times a week. Every year 65,000 water samples flow in and out of this lab.

"The safe drinking water testing for the city of Madison is being performed up in little tiny Crandon," said Krueger.

Many people have their own wells, which are not tested regularly like municipal water. If your well is submerged due to flooding, filtered groundwater mixes with potentially harmful surface water.

"You're introducing the bacteria and all the compounds and organisms that are normally above the water that you're drawing," said Krueger.

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VILLAGE OF HEWITT - Monday around 7 A.M. Wood County police responded to a man who was run over by a dump truck in the Village of Hewitt.

When the police arrived they were informed by emergency responders that the man's injuries were fatal.

The victim of the accident was 77-years-old.

Police have ruled the death as an accident, and it was determined that the subjects involved were performing maintenance on the dump truck when the accident happened.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department, Hewitt EMS, Marshfield Ambulance, and the Wood County Coroner's Office all responded to the accident.

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MILWAUKEE - Officials say a man shot by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee police on campus is hospitalized in stable condition.

University Police Chief Joe LeMire said at a news conference Tuesday two officers found the man, armed with a gun, sleeping on a bench in the Fine Arts Complex building around 7 a.m., an altercation occurred and he was shot. The police officers were treated for minor injuries.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 03/19/2019

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


We talk to a snowplow driver in Lincoln County who says he was attacked with a baseball bat after accidently knocking down a mailbox.

We'll take you to the ribbon cutting for a new utility garage in Stevens Point and show you some sustainable design features that are part of the facility including the largest solar array in Central Wisconsin.

And we'll speak with a water testing specialist in Crandon to go over the importance of testing groundwater especially after there has been flooding in the area.


We'll bring you this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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PARK FALLS - Shopko announced it would close all of its stores Monday. That leaves many towns and cities across the Northwoods wondering what, if anything, can fill the gap that will create within their local economies. 

Some groups in Park Falls plan to try to capitalize on a unique federal tax incentive program. The Park Falls Area Community Development Corporation and area Chamber of Commerce already had a plan to educate people on a fairly new tax benefit program, one that will help create opportunity in the area.

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