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Trucker’s accused killer goes on trial

Trucker’s accused killer goes on trial

Posted Monday April 4, 2011 1 week, 5 days ago

Michael Haydon

Michael Haydon is accused of killing Kolbe and Kolbe truck driver Pat Zemke as he slept in the cab of his truck on an Interstate 39 off-ramp in November 2003. Prosecutors believe Haydon shot Zemke because he wrongly believed that Zemke was having an affair with his ex-girlfriend. Haydon is serving a 25-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting the woman hours before the alleged murder.

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) – A two-week jury trial will finally get underway today for a Plover man charged in a trucker’s death in November 2003.

Michael Haydon’s case has been delayed at least three times – most recently in January when a Portage County judge agreed to give a defense DNA expert more time to prepare.

The 44-year-old Haydon is accused of fatally shooting Kolbe and Kolbe trucker Pat Zemke as he slept in the cab of his truck on a highway off-ramp on November 18, 2003. Prosecutors say Haydon killed Zemke out of mistaken identity, wrongly believing that Zemke was having an affair with his ex-girlfriend. Haydon is also accused of stealing Zemke’s wallet after the murder.

A jail inmate testified in a preliminary hearing in March 2009 that Haydon confessed to the murder while the two shared a cell in the Marathon County jail in 2008.

Haydon is serving a 25-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend hours before the alleged murder.

Judge Thomas Flugaur has ruled that prosecutors can use DNA evidence from dog hairs found on Zemke’s shirt. Prosecutors say the hairs came from the same breed of dog that Haydon owned.

But testing also found that hairs from three police dogs at the scene have similar characteristics known as halotypes to Haydon’s dog or his ex-girlfriend’s dog. That allows the defense to raise the possibility that the hairs in question came from the police dogs rather than a dog that Haydon had contact with.

Haydon cannot use a third-party defense at the trial. Flugaur ruled that the person Haydon named may have had a similar motive but did not have the opportunity to kill Zemke. Flugaur also found no direct evidence linking that person to the crime.

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