Sentencing set for May 24
After six hours of deliberation Monday, March 13, a Waukesha County jury found Oconomowoc resident Amy Van Wagner guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse in the killing of her husband, Stanley.
Van Wagner, 53, faces a mandatory life sentence for the murder charge, which presiding judge Ralph Ramirez is scheduled to deliver on May 24. Her trial lasted nine days.
Several of her family members, including at least two of Van Wagner's children, burst into tears as Ramirez read the verdicts. They also blew kisses to Van Wagner and told her they loved her as she was escorted out of court to the county jail.
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She was accused more than a year ago of fatally shooting her husband in the office of their Elm Street home, wrapping his body in a tarp then dragging it to the basement, where it remained for days.
Van Wagner, in street clothes for the proceedings, appeared shocked by the verdicts, but otherwise did not display any emotion during the brief hearing.
Attorneys for both parties made their closing statements Monday morning. The jury began deliberating around noon and, at about 4:45 p.m., told Ramirez they would keep working until they could reach a unanimous decision.
Van Wagner's attorney, John Schiro, said after the hearing that he was "very disappointed" by the outcome of the case.
"As is the family," he said, adding that he intends to file an appeal.
The state's case was built on circumstantial evidence that suggested Stanley Van Wagner was murdered early in the morning May 15, 2015 while surfing the internet on his laptop – his usual morning routine, prosecutors said. Amy Van Wagner then lied about his whereabouts to coworkers and the couple's teenage son before she found the body on May 17 and a neighbor reported it to police.
Fights about money and the couple's children boiled over and provoked the killing, according to prosecutors.
The murder weapon – a .380-caliber Taurus pistol – was never recovered.