Closing Arguments End Mendez Trial, Judge To Rule Tuesday
The closing arguments in the murder trial of 70 year old Robin Mendez of Minocqua finished in Rhinelander Wednesday.
Mendez is accused of killing his wife Barbara in Minocqua. The case went cold for decades before a team from the TV show "Cold Justice" took up the case and helped the Oneida County Sheriff's Department bring it to the District Attorney's office.
During a 90 minute closing argument, Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek(sheek) laid out how Mendez could have killed his wife at her credit union workplace in Minocqua in April, 1982. He listed more than 70 pieces of evidence, mostly circumstantial. Schiek detailed how Mendez was having a sexual relationship with a 14 year old girl from the church where he and his family attended. Schiek produced evidence during the trial that placed Mendez at the work place at the time of the murder, and other witnesses that said Mendez had worked to cover his tracks.
What's said to be the murder weapon eventually came to Oneida County's Sheriff's Department.
He detailed how another employee saw Barbara Mendez lock the credit union near 5:00 p.m. There was no forced entry and she was believed to be dead around 5:15 p.m. Schiek said a witness placed Mendez leaving the credit union at about 5:15, then never checked on his wife after she was reported late to a church meeting.
Schiek said the teenager who Mendez had the extra-marital affair testified that shortly after the murder Mendez didn't seem upset...
"..The defendant tells(14 year old)the night of Barbara's murder that the defendant was 'foot loose and fancy free'..."
Another woman testified that Mendez had allegedly admitted to her he had committed the crime. Schiek noted both of Mendez' daughters, his ex-wife, brother, and friends all testified against him.
Defense attorney Peter Prusinski earlier this week asked for a dismissal, saying the state had not provided a murder weapon nor eyewitnesses had been presented. Defense witnesses said there had been two men who appeared to have been casing the facility after an altercation at the credit union earlier in the day. Another witness also had testified he couldn't remember making a statement that he and another man had committed the murder.
In his closing statement, Prusinski said the state failed to make the case for conviction..
"There's reasonable doubt. Your Honor, if all this we've gone through is not reasonable doubt, what is?""
Judge Jill Falstad will deliver an oral ruling next Tuesday.