One case near completion, the other stalled by competency questions
Two Oconomowoc-related homicide cases continue to wind their way through the court system, and while one potentially nears completion, the other is just beginning.
But neither will likely wrap up before the start of the new year.
Amy Van Wagner and Jessie Lee both stand accused of first-degree intentional homicide in Waukesha County Circuit Court. They are both Oconomowoc residents, and both killings were the result of fatal shootings, authorities said.
Van Wagner, 52, was charged in February and is scheduled to appear before a jury on Feb. 28, 2017.
Lee, 30, was charged in September; his case is still in the early pre-trial stages and could stall now that questions about his mental competency have been raised.
Both, if convicted, would spend the rest of their lives in prison. Their cases have evolved in recent weeks.
Van Wagner case
Judge Ralph Ramirez on Wednesday, Nov. 30, denied a change of venue motion filed by Van Wagner's attorney John Schiro.
Schiro argued in the motion that his client's trial should be moved out of Waukesha County, since he maintains the juror pool has been "tainted" by ongoing and extensive media coverage of the case.
But Ramirez was not convinced, according to online court records.
Prosecutors said Van Wagner shot her husband, Stanley, multiple times in May 2015 in the office of their Elm Street home, then covered his bullet-ridden body with a tarp and dragged it to the basement. That is where the body remained for three days until Van Wagner reported to police that she stumbled across it while looking for craft supplies.
She is scheduled to appear in court for a motion hearing ahead of the trial on Jan. 20. The trial is scheduled to last 14 days.
The progression of Lee's case could be delayed now that his competency to stand trial has been called into question.
Online court records indicate that Lee was transferred from the Waukesha County Jail in late November to the Madison-based Mendota Mental Health Institute for treatment after his attorney, Amber Rumpf, requested and was granted a competency evaluation.
Lee stands accused of killing Oconomowoc native Christina Schuster, his 34-year-old girlfriend, by shooting her in the head in September.
If a psychologist determines Lee is mentally incompetent, meaning he can't understand the proceedings and/or aid in his legal defense, court proceedings will be put on hold until his competency can be established.
According to the criminal complaint, Lee, described as Schuster's "on-again, off-again boyfriend," reportedly told a friend that what happened to Schuster was "an accident" and later told a detective that he had spoken to "Christina" while in custody and said, "She forgives me."
His next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 22.