A Washington County jury took less than three hours to return a guilty verdict against a man charged in the brutal slaying of a co-worker outside the Germantown box factory where they worked in 1999.
Mark J. Libecki, 49, had testified in his own defense Tuesday, telling jurors that a third co-worker, from whom Libecki was buying cocaine inside Libecki's SUV, had killed Theresa Wesolowski, 22, while she was in the back seat with him. Libecki said the other man, Tommy J. Thompson, threatened to kill him, too, if he ever talked about the crime, and Libecki never did for 7 1/2 years, even after Thompson died in 2003.
Before closing arguments in the case Wednesday, Washington County District Attorney Mark Bensen amended the charging document to first-degree intentional homicide, from the same charge as party to a crime. As a result, Libecki, of Theresa in Dodge County, faces life in prison at his sentencing Feb. 3.
His trial began Nov. 8 in West Bend before Washington County Circuit Judge Andrew Gonring.
Wesolowski's murder had frustrated authorities for years. She was found dead in the gutter near her car about a block from Stone Container, W180-N11900 River Lane. She had been stabbed more than 40 times. Investigators at first focused on her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend.
In 2001, Libecki testified under oath at a secret John Doe hearing but said he had no information. But in 2006, a new type of testing revealed someone else's DNA on the victim's hands. Detectives asked for DNA samples from dozens of people who knew her, and got a match to Libecki. But they did not arrest him until August 2009, after they found Wesolowski's blood in the upholstery of the back seat of the Ford Explorer he had owned in 1999.
Libecki tried to bolster his defense with the testimony of a forensic psychiatrist who examined him and found that he did not fit the profile of the kind of person or situation behind a so-called overkill murder, like that to which Wesolowski was a victim.
"We're disappointed for Mr. Libecki and his family," said Lauria Lynch-German, one of his attorneys. "We still maintain he's innocent. But we're glad the Wesolowski family got closure."
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