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MADISON - The Wisconsin Court of Appeals today affirmed a circuit court judgment entering a Jefferson County jury's conviction of Derek Anderson (formerly known as Andrew Krnak) for first-degree intentional homicide. Anderson was convicted of murdering his father, who disappeared on or around July 2, 1998. Anderson's father's remains were discovered in December 1999 in North Carolina.
On appeal, Anderson argued that out-of-court statements from the Anderson's mother and father to a friend and co-worker respectively should not have been admissible at trial. According to evidence presented at trial, Anderson's mother read to her friend a letter Anderson had written that including language to the effect of: "If I ever get the money to come back to Wisconsin, I'll do away with all of you." Anderson's mother, who also disappeared in the summer of 1998 along with Anderson's father and brother, had expressed to her friend a fear for her life and family. Likewise, Anderson's father had told a co-worker in April 1998 that his son had tried to kill him. When the co-worker asked Anderson's father whether he'd told anyone and what he was going to do, Anderson's father replied that at least he knew how he would die.
The Court of Appeals rejected Anderson's arguments, stating that the statements were admissible because they were non-testimonial in nature, made by individual's who were unavailable at trial, and contained sufficient particularized guarantees of trustworthiness.
The Court of Appeals also rejected Anderson's claims that the jury should not have been allowed to review a mileage logbook, which indicated that the family truck had been driven approximately 2,600 miles since the last entry in the logbook was made a week before the family disappeared.
"Today's decision affirms that Derek Anderson received a fair trial when the jury convicted him of killing his father," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, whose office handled the appeal for the State of Wisconsin. "While nothing can bring back the Krnak family, some justice has been served. The investigators and prosecutors did an extraordinary job with a case that might have remained unsolved but for their dedication."
A copy of today's decision can be found at http://wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=45162.
Assistant Attorney General Marguerite M. Moeller represented the State in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Former Jefferson County District Attorney and current Assistant Attorney General David Wambach represented the State at trial. In 2006, Wambach received the prosecutor of the year award from the Wisconsin District Attorneys Association, in part for his work on the Anderson case.