Mendez Guilty Of 1982 Murder Of Wife In Minocqua
A judge has ruled a Minocqua man did kill his wife 37 years ago this week. His trial was the result of a TV show, family, and investigators coming forward to solve the cold case.
70 year old Robin Mendez showed little emotion as Judge Jill Falstad of Marathon county spent 80 minutes going over the evidence presented in a trial that took much of April. Mendez was found guilty of hitting his wife Barbara at the credit union where she worked alone the evening on April 28, 1982.
Mendez had been carrying on a sexual relationship with a 14 year old girl at the time, and was having trouble in his marriage, which was presented as the motive.
Judge Falstad went over the defense case involving two other men who they felt could have done the murder. She found little credible evidence to support those claims. She did find the testimony of Mendez's daughters, other family, and eyewitnesses to be credible. She said the circumstantial evidence did put Mendez at the scene of the crime with a tool that an expert witness said matches the fatal wounds on Barbara Mendez. She also said Mendez's daughters said Mendez coached his daughters to lie for him, and told the 14 year old girl after the murder he was 'footloose and fancy free'.
Falstad gave her decision..
"..The court finds the state has met the burden of proof by presenting evidence that satisfies the court beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant caused the death of Barbara Mendez and he acted with the intent to kill her..."
Mendez' daughter Dawn Shape, read a statement after the verdict...
"..The wise King Solomon writes, 'there is a time for everything under the sun' He also writes, 'God will call the past to account'. Today, that past has been brought to account."
Oneida County Sheriff's Department Captain Terri Hook was a key investigator..
"First of all, I have a great team of detectives that were working with me. Every step of this case had to be there in order for us to get to where we are today. We would have never have been where we are today without their work. And, of course, "Cold Justice" coming in and helping us.."
Mendez' daughters approached the TV show 'Cold Justice' to look into the murder of their mother. After going over evidence and using new techniques brought by the show, Oneida County Sheriff's Department investigators agreed to bring the matter to District Attorney Michael Schiek who pressed charges in February of 2018.
Mendez was arrested in the Rhinelander WalMart parking lot.
A pre-sentence investigation will be scheduled before final sentencing.