MARINETTE — One of two witnesses who saw a man walking from a double murder crime scene was scheduled to testify today in Marinette County Circuit Court. The other witness, by order of Branch 2 Judge Jim Morrison, will be served a subpoena to testify.
The double murder trial for Raymand Vannieuwenhoven entered day two on Tuesday with the state calling seven witnesses. They included childhood friends of both victims, a person who was camping near the crime scene with his family and a handful of former law enforcement personnel.
Vannieuwenhoven, 84, Lakewood, is accused in the 1976 murders of a Green Bay couple who was camping at McClintock Park in the Town of Silver Cliff. David Schuldes, 25, and Ellen Matheys, 24, were shot and killed at the campground. They were engaged.
Matheys was sexually assaulted, but that charge has been dismissed because the statute of limitations has elapsed. There is no statute of limitations for the two first-degree homicide charges against Vannieuwenhoven.
During Monday's opening statements, both the state and the defense mentioned a pair of eyewitnesses — Robert Swanson and Kim Huempfner — who were walking at the McClintock Park recreational area (near the camping ground) on July 9, 1976, when they heard a gunshot between 2 and 2:30 p.m. The men got in their car and while driving south on Parkway Road, they saw a man walking down the road carrying a rifle in his left hand, according to the state.
Swanson was scheduled to take the witness stand this morning. Huemphner, meanwhile, lives in Idaho and has not been cooperative in regards to providing testimony, according to Marinette County District Attorney DeShea Morrow. Her colleague, special prosecutor Mark Williams, said Huemphner works for the Department of Security and "they will not let him off of work."
Neither side tried to subpoena the witness.
Co-defense attorney Lee Schuchart said Huemphner was a state witness and they have contact information for him. Morrow said she will provide that information to the defense.
Morrison said that's not good enough. He ordered both sides to work together and get the subpoena sent out on Tuesday. And he told Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve to reach out to the sheriff in the Idaho county where the witness resides and make sure the subpoena is delivered.
"I do not want this witness not to be in this courtroom because of some administrative snafu," Morrison said. "If he saw a guy walking out of this crime scene with a gun — and the guy clearly doesn't look like Mr. Vannieuwenhoven looked — we've got to know that. I mean, that's kind of important.
"It's critical that this person is here to testify."
The judge said Huemphner won't be regarded as a witness for either side, but rather he will be "a critically important fact witness."
"Perhaps he knows nothing, maybe he forgot all," Morrison said. "Who knows? I don't know."
Co-defense attorney Lee Schuchart contacted the sheriff's department in the county in Idaho and the subpoena will be served today.
The state's first two witnesses were childhood friends of the victims. Lynn Baumgartner of Green Bay said she knew Matheys since they were young. She called her "Ellie."
"We were best friends since the ninth grade," Baumgartner said. "She was like the sister I never had."
Baumgartner, who attended Green Bay East High School and UW-Green Bay with Matheys, said she was supposed to be the maid of honor in her and Schulde's wedding in the fall of 1976.
The witness described Matheys. "She was an excellent student," Baumgartner said. "She was always quiet, reserved — I would consider her an introvert, intelligent, soft-spoken. Just an overall real nice person."
Steven Mommaerts of Green Bay, the state's second witness, was a good friend of Schuldes. He said they met in Green Bay West High School and they became very close. They also went to UW-Green Bay together.
Mommaerts described Schuldes as a great golfer and an overall good athlete who went out of his way to be nice to others. As an example, the witness said he suffered a brain hemorrhage that caused one eye to droop and while most people avoided him, Schuldes sought him out to talk about the issue.
"He wanted to know what part of the brain it happened in and how it affected me," Mommaerts said. "It made me feel good to talk about it — he treated me like a regular person."
Mommaerts said his wife answered a phone call the morning of July 10, 1976, informing her that Schuldes and Matheys were dead. He said he was sleeping, but his wife told him about the horrific news.
"It felt like I was hit in the chest by a sledgehammer," Mommaerts said. "I was in a daze."
Patrick Fields of Montello, Wisconsin, testified that he was at the McClintock Park recreational area with his parents and brother July 9, 1976. He said he was just 11 years old, but he recalled seeing Schuldes' purple Gremlin at the campground. He also recalled seeing a gray Plymouth parked on the shoulder of the road.
Lance Timper of Marinette was a Marinette police officer in 1976. He said he and his girlfriend, now his wife, were on a "joy ride" on July 9, 1976, and the excursion took them to McClintock Park. He recalled how a park caretaker told him of a male body (Schuldes) laying by the restrooms.
"There was a man laying on the ground," Timper said. "He had blood dripping out of his nose and underneath him. His face and hands were turning blue. He had no pulse."
Timper said the caretaker went to nearby Goodman Park to call 911, while he secured the apparent crime scene until rescue and law enforcement personnel arrived.
Co-defense attorney Travis Crowell asked Timper how many shots he heard when he and his girlfriend were looking for blueberries in the recreational area at McClintock Park. Timper wasn't sure, but he said it could have been more than one.
The prosecution has stated Schuldes was shot once in the neck and Matheys was shot twice in the stomach.
Former Marinette County patrol deputy James Jerue testified as to what he observed at the crime scene, while former dispatcher Connie Winchell testified about the 911 call she received about the crime.
Retired Chief Deputy Robert Kohlman, who assisted in the investigation in 1976, also testified. It was under cross-examination by Schuchart when the topic of Huemphner, one of the eyewitnesses, came up.
Schuchart was seeking information from Kohlman and Morrow argued it was hearsay. The judge agreed.
"You're trying to get that information in front of the jury through somebody else's reports, which is the essence of hearsay," Morrison said. "You've got to have somebody in the chair to cross-examine. You're trying to avoid that and that's not going to happen."
Schuchart said he wasn't trying to avoid anything. He said transcripts of the interviews with Huemphner are available.