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BARABOO, WI Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that on October 10, 2013, Terry G. Vollbrecht, 52, of Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin, was convicted of second degree murder by use of a dangerous weapon and sentenced in Sauk County Circuit Court by the Honorable Steven G. Bauer to the maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment for killing 18 year old Angela F. Hackl in a secluded wooded area west of Sauk Prairie in the early morning hours of June 12, 1987, by shooting Ms. Hackl in the back three times with a .22 caliber firearm.
Vollbrecht was initially convicted in 1989 of first degree murder and sexual assault following a jury trial in Sauk County, and was sentenced by Judge Virginia Wolfe to life in prison. In 2009, Vollbrecht requested a new trial, and Judge Bauer of the Dodge County Circuit Court was assigned to the case. Following post conviction hearings in February and June, 2010, in 2011 Judge Bauer vacated the original convictions and granted Vollbrecht a new trial, which was scheduled to begin on March 31, 2014.
On October 10, 2013, Vollbrecht appeared in Sauk County Circuit Court before Judge Bauer and entered a no contest plea to an amended charge of second degree murder by use of a dangerous weapon. Once accepted by the court, a plea of no contest has the same legal effect as to guilt as does a plea of guilty. As part of the plea agreement, Vollbrecht agreed to waive his rights to any further appeals of the conviction, thus providing finality to the case and for the victim’s family. Based upon the record of the original trial and the post conviction hearings, which satisfied the court that Vollbrecht in fact committed the crime to which he requested to enter his plea of no contest, Judge Bauer accepted Vollbrecht’s plea and found him guilty of second degree murder by use of a dangerous weapon.
Following the conviction for second degree murder by use of a dangerous weapon, and based upon all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case, Judge Bauer sentenced Vollbrecht to the maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. The court emphasized the cruelty and seriousness of the crime, and the need to protect the public as reasons for imposing the maximum sentence of imprisonment. Because Vollbrecht has already served 22 years in prison, however, he has reached his legal mandatory release date under the law existing when he committed his crime, and will be paroled immediately. His parole will last 2 years and 11 months.
Regarding the conviction, Attorney General Van Hollen stated, “Today’s plea and conviction are the final step in what has been a long and difficult process for the friends and family of Angela F. Hackl. For their sake, I am grateful that we were able to conclude this matter without the need for another trial. I hope that this will provide some measure of closure for those who continue to be affected by this crime.”
The Sauk County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case, with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation and Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory. Victim witness services were provided by the Sauk County District Attorney’s Office.
The state was represented in this case by Assistant Attorney General Gary A. Freyberg, acting as Special Prosecutor for Sauk County.