Appeals Court: Portage Co. killer got fair trial - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Appeals Court: Portage Co. killer got fair trial


MADISON (WAOW) – A state appeals court ruled Thursday that a Portage County man sentenced to life in prison for the 2003 killing of a Wausau truck driver received a fair trial.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that evidence indicating Michael Haydon sexually assaulted his girlfriend in the hours before the truck driver was killed was properly presented to jurors.

The three-judge court rejected Haydon's request for a new trial.

Haydon, now 47, was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in the Nov. 18, 2003, shooting death of Pat Zemke, who was found dead in his semi-truck parked on an Interstate 39 exit ramp south of Wausau.

Prosecutors contended that Haydon killed Zemke out of jealously after mistaking him for another truck driver who Haydon suspected was having an affair with his girlfriend.

Haydon was convicted of sexual assaulting his girlfriend at gunpoint before he went to trial on the homicide charge.

That evidence was important for a jury in the murder trial to hear because it suggested his “jealous and angry state of mind on the night of the murder,” the appeals court said Thursday.

Haydon's attorney, Dennis Scherz, told The Associated Press that he was disappointed in the decision and would confer with Haydon on the next steps.


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