WAUSAU (AP) - A Green Bay man sentenced to life in prison for killing hisestranged wife and her parents received a fair trial because ajudge properly allowed one of the victims to testify through a 911dispatcher,
David DeBauche contended the testimony violated hisconstitutional right to confront an accuser and should have beenbanned.
A jury found DeBauche, 44, guilty of three counts offirst-degree intentional homicide in the Aug. 7, 2005, shootingdeaths of Amy DeBauche, 37, and her parents, David and Jane Jensen,at a family vacation trailer near Mountain. He was sentenced in May2006 to three consecutive life prison sentences without parole.
DeBauche, a gun dealer, had gone to the trailer aftercelebrating his 41st birthday in Green Bay with his two young sonsand his girlfriend. A confrontation ensued there.
Jane Jensen, 60, called 911 police dispatcher Gail Angell at11:58 p.m. Aug. 6, 2005, to ask for help because "their daughter'shusband was on the property and he had a gun," court recordssaid.
During the call, Jensen, in a "hysterical" voice, told Angellthat her daughter had been shot, and she identified her daughter'shusband as David DeBauche, court records said.
She also said her husband had been shot and then said, "I'vebeen shot. I've been shot too," the records said.
The dispatcher testified that she then heard screaming, "threeor four popping noises" she believed were gunshots and "everythingjust went totally silent."
David DeBauche was arrested a few hours later near his car abouta quarter-mile from the trailer, court records said.
During his trial, DeBauche testified he and his wife wereinvolved in a messy divorce and she had told him that "the onlything she wanted for Christmas was for DeBauche to kill himself,"court records said.
He said he went to trailer intending to cut up cushions andmattresses inside, not knowing she was there.
DeBauche said his wife threatened to call police and called forher father to bring the shotgun. He said that's when he beganfiring with the .22-caliber revolver he brought along forprotection against wild animals.
Oconto County Circuit Judge Michael Judge allowed Angell'stestimony about the 911 call - it wasn't tape-recorded because someconstruction work had disabled the system - ruling it wasn'thearsay and the evidence that Jensen provided wasn't testimonysubject to cross-examination.
The 3rd District Court of Appeals agreed, saying Jensen faced adire emergency and needed help as opposed to trying to implicateher son-in-law in a crime.
Her "excited utterances" to a law enforcement officer describingwhat was happening were "devoid of the possibility of fabrication,"the three-judge panel said.
Her words may have helped catch the shooter and they served"societal goals other than adducing evidence for later use attrial," the panel added.
The dispatcher's questions and the mother's statements weredirected at resolving the ongoing emergency and securing Jensen'ssafety, not simply describing past events, the appeals courtsaid.
DeBauche's attorney did not immediately return a telephonemessage Tuesday.
The issue of evidence from a homicide victim made headlinesearlier this year in an unrelated case.
Mark Jensen of Kenosha was convicted of poisoning andsuffocating his wife after a judge allowed a letter the wife hadwritten and left with a neighbor to be used as evidence in theevent of her death. Julie Jensen wrote that she was suspicious ofher husband's behaviors and feared "for my early demise."
Until recent years, using such a letter in court was virtuallyunheard of because of constitutional guarantees granting criminaldefendants the right to confront their accusers.
But the Wisconsin Supreme Court created new evidence rules,guided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mark Jensen is appealing the conviction.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
First responders helped ring in the holidays at the 45th annual Howard-Suamico Christmas Parade.
Christmas is just two and half weeks away, and kids and families are getting into the holiday spirit.
Single digit temps around the area caused problems in the Fox Valley Saturday morning.
The frigid temperatures forced some area communities to cancel their weekend Christmas celebrations. But New London braved the cold for its annual Holiday of Wonder Parade.
Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's all of the injuries, but many Packers fans are saying "no thanks," to this weekend's Packers game.
With only a little snow on the ground in places, snowmobilers are ready for more. In the Lakewood area, trails are not yet open, but clubs are gearing up for an early start to the season.