(Photo Story) The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office reported 70-year-old Tomahawk man, Kenneth A. Pietila, was killed in a structure fire at W4670 East Pine Shore Lane in the town of King Thursday. A 911 call was received about 3 p.m. from someone plowing snow in the area. The Tomahawk and Nokomis Fire Departments responded. Firefighters performed an interior attack in search of a possible victim inside. (Of note, sheriff's reports indicate that the man was wheelchair-bound, but the family wishes to make it clear that he used a walker and was not confined to a wheelchair.) His wife reportedly was not home when the blaze was discovered. Mr. Pietila was found and pronounced dead at the scene. A fire marshal from the Wisconsin Department of Justice responded to the scene to investigate the fire and the victim was taken to the William S. Middleton VA Medical Center in Madison for an autopsy. The cause of the fire was under investigation by the state fire marshal and Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. See a summary of Mr. Pietila's obituary below.Tomahawk Leader 4-22-2014 issue; Tomahawk Leader Photo by Jed Buelow
THS Prom Saturday
Who will be crowned king and queen at this Saturday's Tomahawk High School Junior Prom, to be held from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the school? The court includes Ben Yirsa and Nicole Nerva, Dustin Krueger and Faith Ungerer, Dakota Tomek and Emily Schneider, Andrew Olson and Megan Lee, Jake Borchardt and Hannah Heuer, and Jacob McGuire and Audrey Dichsen. The 2014 theme is Masquerade. The Grand March and crowning of king and queen will be at 9:30 p.m. Spectators may enter beginning at 9 p.m. by door #2 near the high school gymnasium. Admission for spectators is $5 per person.Tomahawk Leader 4-22-2014 issue
ONLINE EDITION available anywhere, 24/7: Subscribe Now
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Blog for Philippine Orphans below: News tidbits
**Highlights of some of the other stories that appear in the April 22, 2014, newspaper include the following. Consider an Online Edition subscription to find out more. Tomahawk Leader 4-22-2014 issue
**Plans to replace a portion of Kings Road this summer were temporarily put on hold as a group of concerned citizens voiced concern over what the road construction project might cost them in special assessments. Read the entire story in this week's Tomahawk Leader.
**Citing proposed changes as candidates she would be able to work well, newly elected Tomahawk Mayor Clarann Stocker presented a list of new committee members that showed changes to the city's Personnel Committee, BID District Committee, and Planning and Zoning Committee. After failing to have the proposed changes approved, re-elected council chair Don Nelson moved to reinstate members of the committees that would have otherwise been removed. His motion passed 5-3 vote. Of the mayor's recommended changes, Darrell Smerz was appointed to serve on the Planning and Zoning Committee.
**Tomahawk residents will have the opportunity to earn money while saving money by paying closer attention and recycling more starting next month. In an attempt to continue to grow the city's recycling efforts and reduce the amount of trash the city is responsible for placing in the landfill, Eagle Waste and Recycling and the city are teaming up to reward those who do their part to recycle. Starting May 6, the city will begin randomly drawing an address and checking the trash and recycling to see if proper recycling practices are being followed. Those who are not properly recycling will get a "too bad" reminder that they could have won, while those found properly recycling will receive Chamber Bucks. For additional information, see the newspaper or contact City Hall at 715-453-4040.
**Look for bargains and an Art Show during the Tomahawk Main Street Spring Fling Thursday, April 24. The downtown shopping extravaganza will also feature nearly 20 local and area artisans in stores during an Open House from 3 to 7 p.m. You'll find a list of artists and their locations in this week's Tomahawk Leader. There's also a feature story on Jackie Alberg who will be at The Cheese Shoppe. She's an award-winning basket maker and painter. Read her story with an Online Edition subscription.
**Teri Cernoch and Mary Smith will talk about their trip to Israel at a presentation Wednesday, April 23 at Price of Peace Church.
**Public is invited to an ecumenical fellowship, music, kids' activities as the first Expressions of Compassion outreach is held April 26 at the School District complex. See our Community Calendar and the newspaper for more.
**St. Mary's Parish School's Gala at Inshalla takes place Friday.
**Rep. Mary Czaja announces she will seek re-election.
**Four arrested for meth use, manufacture, delivery.
**Taking home gold in state forensics.
**Tomahawk Middle School Honor Roll.
**Oneida County law enforcement and Tomahawk police involved in eighth "Take Back" unwanted prescription drugs.
**Men in the Kitchen fundraiser supports HAVEN.
**Air Travel Tips for Seniors with Special Needs.
**There was quite a response to the April 15 column Editor Kathy Tobin did on Cathy Schmit's trip to the Philippines to meet some orphans who are looking for "forever homes" in the United States. If you'd like to follow Cathy's blog and learn more about her trip and the kids, click on the link to the Ambassadors' blog immediately below this listing. You can also read the story about Cathy in the pdf below.
**City officials remind all city residents that they should run a constant stream of water about the size of a pencil from one faucet 24/7 until further notice.
Check out how to see the Tomahawk Leader e-edition anytime, anywhere via the link below.
**Former Hatchet wrestler, Alyssa Lampe, wins national wrestling crown. She continues to gear up for the 2016 Olympics.Tomahawk Leader 4-22-2014 issue
**Bill Lehmann bowled his first career 300 game at Strikers Bowl.
**Former Badger/NFL star, Jim Leonard, inspires local kids during visit.
**Due to Old Man Winter returning to the Northwoods last week, all outdoor sporting events were cancelled or postponed. That left just the indoor track meets on the schedule. The Lady Hatchet track team won the Northland Pines Relays by winning eight events, including: long jump: Hanna Meyer (15'10"), Lauren Hilt (14'9") and Audrey Dichsen (13'5"), 44'0"; triple jump: Meyer (32'3"), Emmy Larson (30'6") and Olivia Pintens (26'5"), 89'2"; pole vault: AnnaLuz Fox (7'), Michaela Galganski (7'6") and Dani Whiting (6'6"), 21'; high jump: Kaitlin Gaedtke (4'6"), Sara Kouba (4'2") and Larson (4'10"), 13'6"; 800m relay: Meyer, Larson, Hilt and Emily Verkilen, 1:58.84; 400m relay: Meyer, Larson, Hilt and Verkilen, 56.44; 600m low hurdles: Gaedtke, Maggee Renn and Galganski, 1:48.48; and distance medley: Whiting (1200m), Dichsen (400m), Talyn Jones (800m) and Claire Kuehn (1600m), 14:33.16. The Hatchet boys' best finish was a second-place effort by Austin Kaiser, Tyler Wittmann, Lucas Tjugum and Jacob McGuire in the 3200m relay in 9:50.
**Youth soccer sign-up set.
**Rockin' Tomahawk's 5k/half marathon will take place June 14 at SARA Park, sponsored by the Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce. The half marathon will start at 8 a.m., with the 5k race at 9 a.m. There's a kids' fun mile run at 9:45 a.m. The entry fee is $45 for the half marathon; $30 for the 5k; with the kids' race free for youngsters ages 12 and under. Refer to the link here for more information: www.rockintomahawk.com.
**The Tomahawk Hatchet Athletic Hall of Fame will host the 15th annual induction program as part of the 2014 homecoming weekend Oct. 3-4. Nominations are being accepted with forms at the THS office or from www.hatchethalloffame.com or call Principal Scott Swenty at 715-453-2106.
**Check the Leader for the upcoming sports schedule, which is also posted online in the School Calendar.
Forestry & Wood Products section
The March 25, 2014, Tomahawk Leader features an annual special section we publish dedicated to Forestry & Wood Products. Whether you're directly connected to a local forestry-related mill or not, there's something of interest inside. Some of the many topics include: Wood shortage at mills points to bigger challenges facing industry; Oak wilt a growing concern in Nokomis area (don't disrupt oaks during critical times); North central Wisconsin Young Forest Initiative Forest Management Guidelines; Out of the Northwoods: The Many Lives of Paul Bunyan"; Tomahawk gets $20,000 grant for Urban Forestry Project; Wondering how to increase wildlife on your land? Wisconsin County Forests: A model for sustainable forest management; $21 million Tomahawk Louisiana-Pacific (LP) project nears completion; and more. See the section in the pdf below and in the complete newspaper on newsstands and as with all special sections, as part of an Online Edition subscription.Tomahawk Leader 3-25-2014 issue
Just for the Health of It section; copy below
Our annual Just for the Health of It section is packed full of health tips and information. Learn about Multiple Sclerosis: Treatments, New Advances and Upcoming Events; the Stepping On Program for Older Adults; Healthy Skin and Hair Need Quality Water; Is It More than 'Cabin Fever'? area Relay for Life and Bark for Life Events (grab your pooch); What to Consider When Buying a Chair Life; Healthier Children: Chiropractic brings out the best in me!; Overcoming Stage Fright; Ministry Medical Group is a CaptionCall provider; Health Insurance open enrollment deadline; Marshfield Clinic Reports Progress in Cancer Research and Treatment: Part of largest oncology clinic trial program in Wisconsin; Have You Received your Tdap Vaccine; and Epidemic of Drug Use: Crime Stoppers Seeks Your Help. Check out the pdf below for a copy of the section.Tomahawk Leader 3-25-2014 issue
AD CENTER link with Display, Classified Ads
Be sure to check our AD CENTER, along the left-hand column, for our CLASSIFIEDS and certain DISPLAY ads. This week's posted listings include lots of HELP WANTED ads:Tomahawk Leader 4-22-2014 issue
**Care Partners Country Terrace Assisted Living announces its facility will open in the summer of 2014.
**Louisiana-Pacific Corporation-Tomahawk is seeking a Production Laborer Utility Worker.
**Looking for an exciting new career? Join the Cleary Building Corp. team. It's now hiring for Construction Sales.
**Pine Crest Nursing Home has a notice for its Admission Policy.
**First and Second Shift Full- and Part-Time positions are available at Drs. Foster & Smith, Rhinelander.
Click on an ad itself and go right to the company's website, if available.
**2014 Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearing results available.Tomahawk Leader 4-22-2014 issue
**Using a cedar arrow and a recurve bow he made in January, Bob Daigle harvested a gobbler Wednesday east of Tomahawk. His grandson, Jack Ford, also got a bird during the youth hunt.
**Treehaven hosts Envirothon. We have coverage.
**Mentored youth turkey hunters shown at Lincoln County Sports Club after several kids harvested birds.
**DNR offers 'First Turkey Certificate.'
**Check our Fishing Report and City Editor Jed Buelow's blog on our Message Board.
Links to information
Looking for things to do? Check our Community Calendar for an in-depth listing of area events. And, do some extra site-seeing with our online Town Square business directory to find places to stay, dine and shop. We also feature a 15-day forecast on our Weather link; front page Map; snowmobile Trail Report; and online Fishing Report, plus our School Calendars include student activities, sporting events and information about ACT testing and college visitation dates.
Town Square Business Directory
The Town Square is a great place to check for places to stay, shop and dine while in the Tomahawk area. For information on adding your business link with web site, call 715-453-2151 or email email@example.com.
Typo on Facebook
Typo the Tomahawk Leader Office Cat is a regular columnist in the newspaper and a celebrity on Facebook. Become a friend today!
2013 Year in Review, pdf below
Click on the pdf for the Tomahawk Leader 2013 Year in Review. Week by week story highlights from an interesting year.
**Arriving after publication, full obituaries will be published in the April 29, 2014, Tomahawk Leader:Tomahawk Leader 4-22-2014 issue
**Anton "Tony" Vukovic, 68, Tripoli, born in Yugoslavia, graduated from high school there, was a professional boxer, escaped the Yugoslavian government in 1968 and came to the United States, after citizenship drafted into U.S. Army during Vietnam War, lived in Chicago area and worked as electrician and contractor, owned TNT Lounge in Chicago, married Nancy Duracka, in Tripoli owned Tony's Northwoods Electric and Construction (died 4-20-14; funeral service Friday, April 25 at 3 p.m. at Generations Funeral Home, Tomahawk; visitation begins at noon).
**Marjorie E. Langton (nee Sparks), 90, Stevens Point, born in Tomahawk, valedictorian of Tomahawk High School Class of 1940, married Thomas Langton, moved to Stevens Point, worked at Montgomery Ward for 22 years, retiring in 1985, did bookbinding from home as Langton Book Repair many years, retiring in 2013 (died 4-13-14; funeral Friday, April 25 at 11 a.m. at Boston Funeral Home, Stevens Point; visitation 9-11 a.m.; memorial fund in name for Lincoln Senior Center Education Program.
**Summary of obituaries published in the April 22, 2014, Tomahawk Leader:
**Kenneth A. Pietila, 70, W4670 E. Pine Shore Lane, Tomahawk, born in Stambough, Mich., married Patricia Wood, civil engineer specializing in water treatment, employed with Rexnord in Milwaukee 30 years, later began Pietila Consulting Associates as a professional engineer, came to Tomahawk in 1991, among survivors former wife, Mariann (died 4-17-14 at residence; Celebration of Life Tuesday, April 22 at 3 p.m. at Krueger Family Funeral Home, Tomahawk; visitation begins at 2 p.m.)
**Donald Gustafson, 78, Brantwood, born in Brantwood, grew up in Brantwood and Tripoli area, 1954 graduate of Tripoli High School, served in U.S. Army 1954-56, married Judy Larson, spent entire life working in logging industry, including Gustafson Logging and Gustafson Logging Company, Inc. (died 4-17-14; memorial services will be Saturday, May 3 at 1 p.m. at Generations Funeral Home, Tomahawk; visitation will begin at 11 a.m.)
**Liam Phoenix Morris, infant son of Terrence and Samantha (Brouwers) Morris of Tomahawk, born and passed away Thursday, April 10 at Ministry Sacred Heart Hospital, Tomahawk (died 4-10-14; private family service will be held; Generations Funeral Home and Crematory, Tomahawk, assisting the family).
**Gregory "Greg" L. DeBoth, 59, Prentice, born in Phillips, 1972 graduate of Prentice High School, married Diana Plude, employed as truck driver for Guzinski Logging, Prentice, after high school and then went into business with brother, Tim, and formed DeBoth Bros. Trucking and Logging in 1978 (died 4-17-14; funeral service Tuesday, April 22 at 11 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Prentice; visitation is after 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 21 at Heindl Funeral Home, Prentice, with a parish wake at 7 p.m., and continues Tuesday, April 22 at 10 a.m. at the church).
**Richard "Dick" Steckbauer, 74, Tomahawk, grew up in Aniwa area, 1957 graduate of Mattoon High School, married Patricia Theilman, logged throughout northern Wisconsin, primarily with Owens-Illinois (died 4-15-14; funeral service Saturday, April 19 at 11 a.m. at Generations Funeral Home, Tomahawk; visitation will be Friday, April 18 from 4-7 p.m. and again Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.)
**Patrick J. McFadden, 60, Wausau and formerly of Tomahawk, born in Chicago, Ill., 1972 graduate of Argo High School, married Sandra Hotho, worked as composing room supervisor for Southtown Economist for Summit, Ill, moved to Tomahawk in 1984, worked for Rhinelander Daily News and Lakeland Times (died 4-15-14; funeral services will be Monday, April 21, 2014, at 11 a.m. at Generations Funeral Home, Tomahawk; visitation will begin at 9 a.m.)
**Robert Ellsworth Whiteside, celebrated 101st birthday a week earlier, was born in Zion, Ill., Naval engineer in World War II, married to Millie, married nearly 65 years, spent summer on Clear Lake outside Tomahawk, retired to Sun City, Ariz., wintered there and summers in Tomahawk (died 4-6-14; life will be celebrated at the family cottage at Clear Lake in summer of 2015).
**Dona Rae Jensen (nee Warmke), 55, Longs, S.C., formerly of Tomahawk, born in Portage, 1977 graduate of Tomahawk High School, married Robert Lang, later divorced, married Donald Jensen, employed by State of South Carolina Department of Health and sold real estate for Weichert Realtors Southern Coast of Longs, S.C. (died 3-24-14 after year and half battle with breast cancer; private memorial service held April 4 in North Myrtle Beach, celebration of life service will be held later this summer in Wisconsin).
|Rare disease paralyzes, blinds
Tim Brandt's wife, Brandy, was four months pregnant when he was admitted to the hospital emergency room with a distantly-familiar feeling of weakness. By the end of that day, he was completely paralyzed and on a ventilator. Now blind, Tim, 35, Merrill, was diagnosed with two rare autoimmune diseases and has a long road to recovery. Read the touching story about his struggles, his wonderful reaction when his daughter was born, and how his family and friends have planned a benefit Saturday, April 26 to raise money for medical bills and to help make their house wheelchair accessible. You can see the entire story in this week's Tomahawk Leader, available on newsstands and through an Online Edition subscription right here. There's a summary of the event in our Community Calendar and pictures posted to the Photo Album. For a more information about the benefit, contact Mik at Mik4677@hotmail.com. For those who'd like to make a monetary donation, there is an account set up for the Brandt family at Lincoln Community Bank, Merrill.Tomahawk Leader 4-22-2014 issue
GUILTY ALL COUNTS: Mark Bucki Murder trial
The Tomahawk Leader attended the Mark Bucki murder trial at the Courthouse in Merrill. We have coverage in the April 22 and 15 Tomahawk Leaders, with some pictures in our Photo Album.Tomahawk Leader 4-22-2014, 4-15-2014 issues
**Guilty verdict: Wednesday April 16, 2014, Day 8, Lincoln County Court: After a little more than 8 hours of deliberation, the jury found Mark Bucki guilty on all three counts, including first degree intentional homicide, strangulation and suffocation, and hiding a corpus of his wife, Anita, just about a year ago. Lincoln County District Attorney Don Dunphy asked Judge Tlusty of sentence Bucki immediately on the first count, which has to be life in prison and determine parole eligibility at a later time. The defense said it would make it hard for them to see their client if he was in Dodge Correctional Facility instead of Lincoln County Jail and asked that all sentencing take place simultaneously at a later date after a pre-sentence investigation is completed. Tlusty eventually decided to do the latter at a later date. No date was set for sentencing. Afterward Dunphy and Special Prosecutor Richard Dufour talked afterwards and indicated satisfaction with the job done by the jury. In regards to there not being any direct evidence, Dunphy said is such cases there are only two people present at the time of the crime "and one of them is dead." There certainly was enough circumstantial evidence and each and every piece was important, he said. Look for more coverage in the April 22, Tomahawk Leader.
**Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Day 8: Just announced there's a verdict. The jury will be brought back in about 45 minutes from now. Gives time for all sides to reassemble. **Tuesday, April 15, 2014, Day 7 of the Mark Bucki Murder Trial:
**Jury has asked to adjourn for tonight, as of about 8:30 p.m. Will reconvene about 8 a.m. Wedneday.
**TWO HOURS AFTER JURY WENT OUT, ABOUT 5:48 P.M.: All the lawyers and Mark Bucki were called back because of an issue with the jurors. Judge Tlusty indicated that the jurors had taken a smoking break and one told a bailiff that he was too stressed and could no longer deal with "these people; they all have closed minds." He requested an alter(nate) be picked and put in his place. The bailiff told him to put it in writing, which he did. Options were discussed, ranging from going to less than 12 jurors or picking a substitute. The state said it would leave the decision up to the defense. The defense said they were not ready to do either after just 2 hours. The other alternative would have been a mistrial. The entire jury was called back into the courtroom and Judge Tlusty read instructions to all jurors that they should not be obstinate, they should listen to each other and respect other opinions. They were then instructed to retire back to the jury room. Meanwhile, earlier in the day, it was learned that a juror's sister had died. He was called in and said the funeral would not be held until this weekend or next week and that he was not responsible for making arrangements. He said he was capable and able to think clearly and stay on the jury. Later when the 15 people were narrowed to 12 and the alternates were taken to another room, he was among them.
**THE AFTERNOON OF TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 2014: Closing arguments by the state took about 1-1/2 hours at which time Atty. Richard Dufour questioned mark Bucki's inconsistencies saying when you're telling the truth the stories don't change. He said Mark Bucki impeded law enforcements investigation. He asked why Anita would have left the house about midnight in 32-degree temp without her winter coat which was hanging nearby, wearing only a shirt, jeans and a bathrobe, also leaving behind her cell phone, $3,000 in cash, her car and no longer have keys to get back into the house. He said to believe the defense's story, a complete stranger in rural Lincoln County would have had come by and picked her up at that hour of the night, strangled her and stabbed her seven times without a struggle (or defensive wounds) and dumped her body in a place that Mark drove by all the time. "How likely is that?" Dufour asked. He noted the memory cards from the trail cam Mark had focused on the house/driveway were erased and that there were no tracks from Anita's car if he had graded the driveway earlier in the week as he said. He said Mark Bucki didn't need to contact law enforcement about what was going on because "he did it" and knew what happened. He noted Mark always was iffy about times, saying "ish" as in 7-ish, except when he went to bed April 25 "at midnight" and when he got up April 26 "10 (minutes) to 5 (a.m.). Dufour noted Anita was 5'1" and weighed 114 pounds. He asked why someone would remove half the carpet? He called the disturbed ground "a gravesite" that didn't work out. He said Mark Bucki was "tired" the day after Anita was reported missing because he was "hiding the evidence and covering tracks." He said Anita desperately wanted to get back with her husband, while Mark's plan was to start a new life with his fantasy, his angel (girlfriend). He also referred to the letter Mark wrote to Angie about how Anita spoiled his happiest summer. "The defense ruined his own summer by viciously murdering his wife," Dufour stated. He also said Mark used the term that Anita was "at peace" because he had murdered her and put her at peace." He talked about Mark's lack of emotion when his wife was found and how she was "found next to the road like a dead deer." Dufour said Mark Bucki had three motives to kill Anita and the opportunity. The motives were financial, to protect Angie (his girlfriend) and to move on with his life. "Do justice for this lady and find the defendant guilty of all three counts!" Dufour told the jury. In his closing statement, Attorney Lex said there was no physical evidence linking Mark Bucki to Anita's death and with all the resources at the state's disposal they had not proven anything. He said Mark was the only suspect from Day 1 and they never gave him a chance to explain things. He noted the shoes they used to determine scent for the trail dogs belonged to son, Clint Bucki. He said there was no DNA evidence linking Mark to the crime; that everything was circumstantial. He questioned why, with 84 acres of land, Mark would choose his ATV trail to try to hide the body. And, he asked why Mark would not have gotten rid of Anita's purse. (To which the state later countered that he was trying to make it look like a suicide.) The defense noted that Mark Bucki does not have to prove anything, and the high standard of a criminal trial is "beyond a reasonable doubt.) You were given pencils and erasers to jot notes during the trial, Lex said. "Whatever you write on the verdict form will be in ink and cannot be erased," he stated. Three alternate jurors were removed from jury and the 12-person jury left the courtroom about 3:45 p.m. to begin their deliberations.
***THE MORNING OF APRIL 15, 2014: The defendant took the stand for much of the morning today (Tuesday) in his own defense. When asked directly by his attorneys if he had killed his wife, Anita, or if he knew who had, Mark Bucki said, "No." When asked if he had strangled, stabbed or hauled her body in the yard or taken it to where she was found on County Road C, in Taylor County, he repeatedly said "No." Under cross-examination, Bucki responded said he never asked law enforcement about the status of the investigation of Anita's disappearance nor did he ask about how she died when she was found, because he felt it was law enforcement's job to tell him information when they had any. He said it was not like him to "pester" people. Bucki also said when Lt. Gartmann from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office called him about 9 a.m. the morning of May 13, 2013, to say he had something important to talk to him about (a body that turned out to be that of Anita was found May 10, 2013), Bucki said he could meet about 1 p.m. Instead, the state's attorney indicated, Bucki had a picnic with Angie (Mark's girlfriend). "I was going to meet her for lunch," Bucki agreed. He responded "No" when asked it he was the last person to see his wife alive.? There was testimony about the couple's financial situation and what would happen if they were divorced. When asked by his attorney if Bucki had to kill Anita to get his property, he said "No," noting that they had met with a surveyor in 2012 to consider potential arrangements to sell portions of the 180-plus acres off. Anita had sent a text to Mark saying to share insurance money with son Clint if anything happened to her. That he told the state did not tell him the insurance policy was paid up, and he said he knew "life insurance don't pay on a suicide." Testimony was allowed that Mark Bucki learned how to immobilize someone in training in the Army. Mark Bucki called his relationship with Anita in 2013 more like "roommates" and said they were not sleeping in the same room. When she quit her job, he said they moved up the impending divorce about 5 months. When she left to go live with Clint, Mark said she had free reign to take whatever she wanted. After she left, he said he started his spring cleaning. He said he tore up carpet in a bedroom the day after Anita left with Clint to go to Minnesota, after a large computer hutch was removed from the room that had covered where their cat had either urinated or sprayed the area. He said the smell had not bothered Anita and it would have taken 3 to 4 guys to move the furniture. He was going to tear out the whole room but because of an injury he just cut it in strips. "I was eventually going to tear the rest of the carpet out, " he said. He did spray a cleaner on the area, he said. He noted he regularly burned items 3 to 4 times a week and burned the strips and items Anita left behind from the basement including the day after her disappearance. He said he "never, never, never" dug the previous mentioned "disturbed earth" on April 25 or 26. There was a picture of Mark grading the driveway with a lawn tractor and small drag dated April 19, 2012, with Anita also seen in the picture. He said he dragged the area this spring, doing so again the Wednesday before Anita went missing. He also said he cleaned his truck that Monday before she went missing as part of his normal cleaning. Mark Bucki said he had nothing to be angry about and only raised his voice a little when he talked with Anita for the last time. The state, however, said Mark was scared Anita would tell Angie's husband, Jess, about the affair, and he replied "Correct." They said Mark indicated Anita was hellbent on getting back together, to which he said "Correct." And referred to an email she sent April 19 that described her hopes and was signed "Your wife." Cross-examination indicated that Anita would get 1/2 of everything if the couple divorced, including the house, the 84 acres and his workman's compensation, to which Mark said "correct." He confirmed he also had said he would be "set" after her death. ?He was questioned it was indicated there was a $150,000 life insurance policy on Angie, to which Mark said, "I never gave it no thought." When told by law enforcement that the found body was Anita's, Mark's response was, "Oh," but he didn't ask how she died or if she committed suicide or natural causes or if she had been murdered, the state noted. When law enforcement told him they believed he killed his wife, he was reported saying, "There's no reason why." The state said "You didn't deny that you murdered your wife, did you?" To which Mark Bucki today said, "Correct." In further questioning it was noted Mark considered Angie his fantasy, his angel. The state had Bucki read a letter Mark sent to Angie while in jail after he was charged with Anita's murder that said, Life sucks. And that his happiest summer had turned into his worse because of Angie.
Closings will begin at 1 p.m. today, with some discussion that the state's remarks are expected to take more than an hour and a half. Defense wanted the judge to limit those remarks to 1-1/2 hours, but the state said there is a lot of circumstantial evidence and the full burden of proof falls on them. "We only get one chance to prove this case." Judge Tlusty said he would let both sides speak as long as they wanted and that sometimes saying too much turns off a jury too. Jury instructions will follow. The jury will then be sequestered to deliberate and will spend the night at a local motel.
**Monday, April 14, 2014, Day Six of the Mark Bucki Murder Trial: The defense called a few witnesses today, with the accused, Mark Bucki, scheduled to take the stand tomorrow. Closing remarks will follow with the jury conceivably starting its deliberation later in the day. The Tomahawk Leader will be there again and will post updates as they become available. Among those testifying Monday, April 14 were Anna Schmitz, with the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, who said none of the DNA taken was positive for Anita Bucki. The same results were shared by a senior analyst with the State Crime Lab, who noted swabs taken were not connected to the deceased. A neighbor testified that he did not see a fire the day of Anita's disappearance. And Dr. Wieslawa Tlomak, an expert forensics pathologist, testified that Anita's time of death could not be determined between the night she was reported missing and the day she was discovered.
**Friday, April 11, 2014: Day Five of the Mark Bucki Murder Trial ?The prosecution in the Mark Bucki murder trial wrapped up its case Friday after hearing the testimony of its final five witnesses, including four Lincoln County Sheriff officers and a state criminal investigator. The first of the five prosecution witnesses, LC Sheriff's Deputy Randy Ruleau, testified that he was dispatched to the Bucki property on a missing person's investigation. He was the third LC Sheriff's Department to report to the site. He was assigned by LCSD Lt. Peterson to take photos of the scene and started at the driveway entrance and proceeded to the residence and two garages. He noticed that the garage closer to the residence smelled of an orange-scented cleanser. There was a pickup truck in that garage that had dust on the passenger side but the area behind the driver was swept clean. The cab of the truck also smelled of orange cleaner and appeared to have been vacuumed. There was a vehicle parked outside on the east side of the garage, and it was Anita's. The gravel driveway had been recently graded and Anita's car hadn't been moved since that time, according to the tracks. While taking photos, Ruleau noticed a burn barrel that appeared to be warm but not hot. He saw a ceramic figurine on top of the ashes and silver strands of material meshing, like carpet backing. Other than the smoky odor, Ruleau noticed the smell of bleach around the burn barrel. He also noticed two piles of ashes in the garden. Ruleau was directed to go inside the house to interview Mr. Bucki at 8:44 p.m. using a tape recorder. Bucki appeared tired, as he was on a couch covered with a blanket and was rubbing his eyes. The defendant's demeanor was unusual, said Ruleau, "Not really concerned. I really expected more questions about how the investigation is going."
The District Attorney played parts of the Ruleau interview that showed that Bucki didn't want to get back together with his wife, Anita, but she did. Between 6 and 7 p.m. on April 25, Bucki invited Anita to come out to the house and talk. She arrived between 9 and 10 p.m. Bucki said that when they were done three hours later, he thought Anita was going to stay with his sister in Westboro. The defense attorney cross-examined Ruleau with questions about the orange smell in the cab of the pickup truck that could have been hand cleaner and the burn barrel ashes that could have been from the pellet stove. The source of the bleach smell could not be pinpointed.
A juror asked if anyone had looked into Anita's car to determine the position of the driver's seat. Ruleau's answer was, "No."
Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Bradley Kust took the stand for the prosecution and offered his testimony. He was assigned to the Bucki case April 30, 2013, executed a search warrant and interviewed Mr. Bucki on a couple of occasions with a video recorder. Kust was struck by the fact that Mr. Bucki seemed unconcerned about the flow of the investigation compared to many close friends/family of missing persons. Kust testified that Mr. Bucki didn't contact him or anyone at the Sheriff's Department to find out that the body found May 10 in Taylor County was that of his wife, Anita. When he told Mr. Bucki that the body was Anita's Kust recalled that all Bucki said was, "Oh." When Kust told Bucki that Anita's body was found in a pond and covered with maggots, there was no visible reaction from Mr. Bucki. Bucki didn't ask how Anita died. When Kust accused him of the murder it took Mr. Bucki several seconds to respond, "I did not." Kust told Mr. Bucki that the investigators think he killed Anita and the only thing they wondered about was, "Why?" Mr. Bucki answered, "There was no reason why." In Kust's interview with Mr. Bucki, Kust asked about Angie's purse that was left behind at the house. The purse contained $3,000 and a cell phone. Mr. Bucki didn't know what the money was for or where it came from. Mr. Bucki also said that his girlfriend, Angie Mattson, and he met at the wrong time, as both were involved in bad marriages. Kust revealed that the autopsy of Anita Bucki showed that she had been stabbed in the chest several times and had no defensive wounds. On cross-examination, Kust said that Mr. Bucki's cell phone was confiscated April 30. The defense attorney suggested that it would have been difficult for Mr. Bucki to call about the investigation without a phone. The defense suggested that there should have been lots of blood with the stabbing, but none was found. He asked if Kust was a psychologist and knew how Mr. Bucki normally reacts to stress. LCSD Deputy Matthew Gorell was the third prosecution witness of the day. He testified that he was called April 29 to assist in the missing person investigation. He went to the Bucki residence to do paper work to keep on file and also did a recorded interview starting at 5:44 p.m. In the interview, Gorell asked what Anita was wearing when she disappeared. Mr. Bucki responded that she had on blue jeans and possibly a black shirt. When asked if he thought Anita was still alive, Mr. Bucki responded that he didn't think so, but his son, Clint, did. The state's fourth witness of the day was LCSD Investigator Thomas Barker and was the third detective on the scene of the missing person report April 26. After receiving consent to look over the property from Mr. Bucki, Barker collected pieces of potential evidence, bagged it and entered it into the evidence program. Barker said that he entered the detached garage nearest the house and noted that everything was very orderly. There was a pickup truck in the garage with the bed covered with dust, except that the driver's side was cleaned off and there were hand prints in the dust. He added that there was an odor of orange cleaning solution that was stronger in the cab of the truck. Barker noticed the burn barrel but didn't recall if the ashes were warm or not. He didn't know if there had been a recent fire in it. Barker went into the residence at around 10 p.m. and saw Mr. Bucki, who appeared to be sleeping. Barker interviewed Mr. Bucki several times between April 26 and May 10. In the April 29 recorded interview, Mr. Bucki said that Anita visited the house April 21. Bucki didn't know that Anita was so miserable being away, and when the conversation became heated, Mr. Bucki called the LCSD to complain. The dispatcher said that Anita could legally stay there because the divorce wasn't final yet. Ultimately, Anita drove away. On April 26, Mr. Bucki said that he drove around the property looking for Anita and trespassing turkey hunters. He begged Angie to come out to the house. Mr. Bucki explained that he had a false floor in the bed of the truck and had lots of deer blood (seven deer) to be washed out. Every year, he cleans the truck and rotates the tires. He said that he burned the cut out pieces of carpeting from the house because they stunk of cat urine. He said that he burned lots of stuff from the basement. Mr. Bucki admitted that he was reluctant to call the Sheriff because it looks 100% bad for him. Mr. Bucki said that Angie was going to move in with him and it was weird that she was going to ask her husband about a divorce the day after Anita went missing. "Anita wouldn't cause trouble for Angie," said Mr. Bucki. With Mr. Bucki under investigation for Anita's death, Angie said she wouldn't move in with Mr. Bucki. The final prosecution witness was LCSD Lt. Mark Gartmann. He noted, too, that Mr. Bucki seemed disconnected and relaxed during the investigation. Usually, according to Gartmann, a loved one is tense and full of questions and wants to be involved to the point of getting in the way. In an interview with Angie Mattson she said that Anita threatened to tell her husband about the affair. Gartmann closely examined the bed of Mr. Bucki's pickup truck and took photos of palm and finger smudges in the handprint behind the passenger side of the cab. Behind the driver's side, there wasn't any dust. It appeared as if something had been dragged out. Gartmann noticed that the ATV and trailer seemed very organized. When he went into the Bucki residence, Gartmann noticed that there was carpeting missing and items placed over the cut out spots. There was new replacement carpet nearby. The shower curtain was wet, as if the shower had been recently used. When he interviewed Mr. Bucki, Gartmann affirmed that Mr. Bucki looked tired and had bloodshot eyes. He didn't see evidence of tears, though. Mr. Bucki seemed to lack concern and was nearly emotionless until Gartmann mentioned Angie (girlfriend). At that time, Mr. Bucki perked up and had eye contact with Gartmann. Mr. Bucki didn't want to get Angie involved. Mr. Bucki said that on April 25, Anita came to the house at his bidding at around 9 or 10 p.m. They talked, sometimes heatedly, about their relationship. When he thought things were understood, around 1 a.m. or so, Mr. Bucki went to his bedroom, shut the door and went to bed. When he got up at around 5 a.m., Anita was gone, but her purse, coat and car were still there. Neither Mr. Bucki nor Anita called anyone to come and get her. A cadaver dog was alerted near the burn barrel and where the carpet was removed, as well at the disturbed ground site. What possible reasons could there be for that, Mr. Bucki was asked. Mr. Bucki and Anita were married for 26-1/2 years, the last 10 of which were tough, according to Mr. Bucki. "She was never supposed to come back from Minnesota," Mr. Bucki said. After Anita's body was discovered and taken to Madison for autopsy, Gartmann brought back a ring taken from Anita's finger to show Mr. Bucki, who thought it looked to be part of the set they bought in South Dakota. In a letter Mr. Bucki sent to Angie during the investigation, he said "I'll be set for life after the settlements and insurance," and added that Anita will be "at peace." During the cross-examination, Gartmann said that the handprints in the back of the pickup truck couldn't be identified, except that they were from a male (DNA testing). He also said that Mr. Bucki had no wounds and the bleached spots on the carpet weren't tested for blood. ?The last testimony included some from the defendant himself. Mark Bucki acknowledged in a video interview with Gartmann that he had to be a suspect, in part because he was involved with another woman and his wife was fighting to save a marriage he didn't want. The trial resumes Monday, April 14, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. with the start of the defense's version of the case.
**Day 4, Thursday, April 10, 2014: Lincoln County Sheriff's Office Lt. Tim Fischer was called to the stand concerning transcripts of 911 calls Mark Bucki made April 28. Jason Rademacher, Westboro, said he and his uncle, Mark Bucki, often went hunting and fishing together, sometimes along County Road C in Taylor County. They were suppose to go to an auction April 26 (Anita was reported missing later that day by her husband, Mark), but Jason got a text from Mark that he had to bail that day for sure because there were too many issues and he'd see about the next day. The two did go to an auction together April 27. Cindy Giese, special agent in charge with the Wisconsin Department of Justice Department of Criminal Investigation Wausau office, noted she was at the Bucki house during the missing person investigation for several days. The defendant had asked for his medication and she delivered it to his mother's home where he was staying. It struck her odd, she said, that there was laughter coming from the trailer as she approached and she thought she was at the wrong location. The only question the defendant asked at that time was if he could get some of his clothes and toiletries, she said. He did not ask her about the disappearance, the search, if he could assist in any way or what had been done to try to find Anita. On May 3, he called Giese's cell phone to inquire about getting his cell phone back. Again, he did not ask any questions about the status of the investigation. Nor, it was pointed out, did he contact her May 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9. Anita's body was found May 10. Under cross examination, Giese noted there were four people in the house, not just Mark, and she could not tell if he was the one laughing. It also was noted other people were involved with the investigation, not just her.
Mark and Anita's son, Clint Bucki, now living at the family residence in Merrill, was called to the stand by the state as a sometimes hostile witness. He said he supported his father 100% (then added "110%, he's innocent" which was struck from the testimony) but also called his mother wonderful and agreed she'd do anything for anyone. He said he thought originally that his mom could have committed suicide and did not recall saying his dad could have killed his mom. Anita had come to live with Clint in Bemidji, Minn., and it was noted that his dad helped them pack and cried about her leaving. She planned to live with her son while she figured out their marriage situation. He described her as miserable and losing weight, trying to look good for his father. She moved back to the Wausau area a short time later to get a job and try to go back home. Clint said he talked to her the day before she went missing and she sounded at peace and had lined up a job. He had conflicting feelings about her leaving behind her purse and $3,000 inside when she went missing, telling investigators originally she would not do that, but at the trial saying she would, that they didn't know his mom. He said the previous information was taken out of context. Clint talked about how the family cat had died in 2011 and some carpet had been replaced to get rid of urine odor years earlier. In the previous recording Clint told investigators the smell was gone, but in Thursday's questioning he maintained that another spot still existed, with some indication that when his mom moved out her computer stand there still was an odor and he was never asked about that location (The carpet reference is important since a section was removed the day Anita disappeared and apparently was burned). There also was discussion about a pair of shoes he left at the family home and last wore the day they loaded up the U-Haul. The significance was those were the shoes used by dog handlers that later alerted investigators that Mark Bucki had been at the land where Anita's body was found. Clint said his dad also did wear the shoes and that he, Clint, had never walked along the County Road C area in Taylor County where his mother's body was found. He also said his mother might well have worn a bathrobe to walk down the driveway to get mail and even beyond. A special agent with the Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation described the Bucki garage as well kept and said a disturbed area of earth on the property appeared to have been recently dug. At the location where Anita's body was found, he said the body was approximately 30 feet off the road and trees and brush had to be cleared to remove it. She was found face down, wearing what appeared to be a bathrobe and no shoes. Lincoln County Sheriff's Office Patrol Lt. Grant Peterson said he was struck by how unusual it seemed for Anita to leave behind her purse, cell phone, money, jacket and all her belongings when she went missing. He described the defendant as very calm and reserved, kind of unconcerned. He said Mark Bucki said Anita had shown up the night before, they had argued about their marriage and went to bed about midnight. Mark Bucki first noticed her missing at 5 a.m. April 26. Peterson described the home as immaculate, spotless and the garage as well organized. He thought it unusual that the shower was wet at 7 p.m., that one of the bedrooms has a portion of missing carpet, that there was a overpowering smell of orange cleaner in the back of a pickup truck and that part of the truck's bed was dusty and part was not. He said he tried calling Clint, the son, to see if he had any idea where his mother might be and at first he must have thought it was a prank and hung up on him. When he called back and explained the situation he also asked if his dad could have anything to do with her disappearance and Clint said when his father blacked out he was capable of anything. The defense found it hard to determine what portion of the truck bed had been scrubbed down and indicated that Peterson did not know Mark Bucki or how he might react in a crisis. Special Agent Dave Forsyth with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, described the location where Anita's body was found as very rural and swampy, wooded. He said she was wearing what looked like a wedding ring. He said male underwear and male shoes were brought for scent for the bloodhounds, but he did not know why the shoes were ultimately used. Thursday afternoon, Lincoln County Detectives Chad Collinsworth and Brian Kingsley, and Deputy Travis Watruba from Lincoln County Sheriff's Office were the only ones to testify. Collinsworth and Kingsley both commented that part of the driveway appeared to have been recently graded and that the outbuildings seemed very clean and there was a strong odor of an orange cleaner coming from the pickup truck in the main garage. Collinsworth talked about handprints in the bed of the truck, and that it appeared part of the truck had been washed out and that it looked like something had been dragged out of the left side. He did not, however, measure the handprints, but later indicated they were not from a dog. Anita's car had been moved on the newly graded driveway, he said, but the Chevy truck did not have any tracks leading to that garage and they would have shown if it had been driven. He said the burn barrel was hot and there were lots of remnants in it and initially there was a chemical odor from it. He later sifted through the ashes and found bits of clothing, burned eyeglasses and a lot of fibers he believed to be carpet. They talked about 3 text messages to and from Anita's phone April 25. He saw blood on an ATV foot pedal. He said all of Anita's stuff, including keys, purse, cell phone and car were still in the house, everything but Anita. He immediately believed it was a homicide investigation. A lot of time was taken talking about the disturbed earth site. Soil and water samples were taken but it was later noted by the defense that the people taking that were not wearing gloves. It was determined they were from the State Crime Lab and evidently were not worried about fingerprints or cross contamination when dealing with water and soil. The investigators removed a lot of rocks from about 6 to 10 inches down in that area, but defense asked if he had ever used rocks to maintain and ATV trail and he said yes. A jury member asked if there was equipment there that could have been used to grade the driveway and he said yes. Deputy Watruba also noticed the driveway had been graded after he came to the site with an UTV vehicle used to search the grounds for a missing person. He also talked about the garage being very well organized and the smell of orange cleaner. A helicopter was brought in to help with the search but nothing was found. He said the Bucki property was about 80 acres. On cross examination he was repeatedly asked about the disturbed area being on a path or trail. He did not drive over that and said the area was off the path, but the map provided by the State Patrol put it in the middle of the path and the question was asked and re-asked. The question basically was finally dropped and they moved on. Detective Brian Kingsley with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office was the last to testify Thursday. He assisted one of the canine units at the Bucki property and also went to a friend of Anita's to pick up some of her belongings. On May 2 he continued the search and helped collect evidence, including a pair of tennis shoes that were too big to put in one bag. They were put in two bags and placed in a paper bag. Defense took issue that the items were not sealed inside. He saw no other foot ware in the house that he remembers. Although the list of evidence collected was not in his handwriting, he was asked to read from it. It noted a trail cam was found on the master bedroom floor. The "dig area" (disturbed area) was described as 7-feet by 4-feet on this list. On cross examination the defense listed a number of stains found on carpet throughout the house that tested "not positive" or "negative." A portion of a video tape Kingsley made of the excavated area was shown, but, when asked by defense, he noted he did not film it before law enforcement did its own excavation. DA Don Dunphy asked about the listing and referred to a swab sample of blood on boots (which were removed before he arrived) and another tested area that came back "presumptive for blood."
**Wednesday, April 9, 2014: Among those on the stand Wednesday, April 9 was Dr. Michael Spier, a forensic pathologist who said his autopsy showed Anita Bucki had been stabbed seven times which resulted in her death. He also said she had been manually strangled and probably was unconscious but still alive when stabbed. He indicated she was wearing socks but no shoes when her remains were provided for the autopsy. Also testifying were a number of dog handlers, two of which said their dogs reacted to the residue or odor of human remains in the Bucki home, on the foot rest of an ATV with a trailer, at a burn barrel and in a disturbed area of ground; one also reacted to smells in a pickup truck. Other testimony by bloodhound handlers put husband Mark Bucki at the scene were Anita's body was found. The defense however, maintained an uncertainty of the timeframe in all instances, whether the dogs could have reacted to Anita's scent at the site she was found and whether there was proof of criminal intent. Late in the day, a criminal analyst with the Department of Justice read an email from Anita Bucki dated April 19 that said she has never quit loving and missed her husband so much and she wanted to come home. An email from Mark Bucki dated April 17 also was admitted that said he was sorry but he wanted to move on. Some family friends also testified that Mark Bucki had told them the couple was splitting up and that he wanted to get himself a girlfriend. After Anita went missing, he told one of them he believed she committed suicide.
**Tuesday, April 8: Day two of the trial saw a number of pieces of evidence entered into court as well a first look at a possible motive that might have led to Anita Bucki's death. The state special prosecutor said one reason the Mark Bucki might have been motivated to kill is estranged wife, Anita, was to prevent her from going to his new girlfriend's husband about the newly forming relationship. When asked about how intimate their relationship had become, the woman said they had hugged and kissed but had not become intimate and she did not consider herself Mark's girlfriend. In cross-examination by the defense, she said Mark told her he thought Anita went for a walk the night she went missing. Prosecutors called to the stand a number of witnesses to speak on the victim's behalf. Among those, Anita was living with Julie Zietlow at her residence in Wausau at the time of her disappearance. The two formed what Zietlow described as a "sisterly friendship" after working together at Aspirus Hospital and had become close friends over a period of seven years. She wept when asked to identify the stained shirt showing seven knife wounds Anita was wearing the day she was killed. Zietlow said Anita's long-term plan was to reconcile the marriage and move back home, and the night she went missing, her vehicle was packed full of personal belongings in hopes of returning home. As part of evidence entered into court on day two of the trial, prosecutors submitted photos of where carpeting in one of the bedrooms had been removed. The defense said the carpeting had been ripped out because of a cat smell and was in the process of being replaced. One of the witnesses told the court they had seen a large fire in the area of a burn barrel during the early morning hours the day Anita was reported missing. A detective told the court two pairs of eyeglasses, a gun shell casing and a button were recovered from the barrel. Family members became emotional and Mark Bucki lowered his head when photographs from the scene where Anita's body was discovered were shown in court. Anita was located by a couple walking on County Highway C near Medford, about 12 miles from the Bucki home, in a swampy area about 20 feet from the road. Investigators said her body was found face down in about a foot of water with her pants and panties pulled down and a bathrobe on her. A pair of shoes was taken from the Bucki home to determine whether Mark had been at the scene where Anita's body was recovered. Along with a positive hit from the scene in Taylor County, investigators noted canine units also hit on multiple areas at the residence where Anita was reported missing.
****Original story: A 9-day jury trial is set to begin Monday, April 7 for the Merrill man accused of murdering his estranged wife at his town of Corning residence last spring. Mark Bucki, 50, has remained in Lincoln County Jail on a $2 million cash bond after being taken into custody on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide last May. He also faces felony charges of strangulation and suffocation, and hiding a corpse. Read more about the case in this week's Tomahawk Leader, available on newsstands and through an Online Edition subscription here. We will be providing coverage of the trial.
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