UPDATE: Court Upholds Haydon's Life Sentence for '03 Mistaken Identity Murder

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email
A state appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Plover man who

Michael Haydon

UPDATED: Thurs 12:30 PM, Sept 05, 2013

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Plover man who'd been found guilty of killing a truck driver 10 years ago.

Michael Haydon was convicted of killing Pat Zemke in the cab of Zemke's truck in 2003. Prosecutors alleged that Haydon mistook the victim for another truck driver whom Haydon suspected of having an affair with his ex-girlfriend.

A jury convicted Haydon. He appealed the decision, saying the state shouldn't have been allowed to introduce testimony that his ex-girlfriend had given in a separate case.

The woman had testified Haydon sexually assaulted her at gunpoint hours before the killing. An appeals court on Thursday concluded that the testimony was relevant and was properly allowed.

Haydon's defense attorney, Dennis Schertz, did not immediately return a message Thursday.

ORIGINAL STORY: 6:31 PM, Aug 31, 2011

The Rib Mountain man convicted of killing Pat Zemke in 2003 has been sentenced to life without chance of parole.

Zemke was found shot to death in the cab of his truck November 18, 2003 on the Highway DB off-ramp of Interstate 39 near Lake Du Bay. Prosecutors say Michael Haydon believed Zemke was having an affair with his ex-girlfriend, which was the motive for murder.

Haydon was originally charged with the murder back in November of 2006, but the case was dismissed in 2007 before heading to trial due to lack of evidence. Prosecutors say dog hair possibly belonging to Haydon’s ex-girlfriend’s dogs was found in Zemke's cab, connecting Haydon to the murder. Haydon's attorneys argued forensic tests involving dog hair are unreliable.

In 2009, Haydon was again charged with the murder. Portage County District Attorney Tom Eagon said the complaint was refiled after they obtained new information through a number of interviews. According to the criminal complaint, Haydon told three separate Marathon County Jail inmates incriminating information about the murder of Zemke. Two inmates informed authorities Haydon told them the only evidence police had against him at this time was some dog DNA, but Haydon allegedly said he was worried they would find more against him.

In April 2011 during trial, the defense argued that none of the prints, stains, and human hairs found at the scene tied Haydon to the truck where Zemke was found. Of the more than 200 pieces of evidence that were obtained from Zemke's cab, the defense says none contained Haydon's prints or DNA.

Haydon's attorney referred to his former cellmates as "snitches" and argued that they testified only to seek compensation for their statements. However, a jury found Haydon guilty.

Haydon was scheduled to be sentenced in July, but the hearing was postponed after he was injured during transport and had to seek medical care. Portage County District Attorney Tom Eagon commented on the situation saying, "We don't know if he did that in an attempt to harm himself or an attempt to escape or if he had some other reason or whether it was an accident."

Eagon says, throughout the case, Haydon never cooperated with investigators and still has not admitted guilt.

"It reflected the attitude of a person who is willing to take somenone's life so easily and it reflected to me that if he has rehabilitative needs, he has no interest in addressing them", said Eagon.

Haydon's lack of remorse is something that doesn't sit well with Zemke's family.

"That's always been an issue with us, is that he's never given any sort of empathy toward the family or any sign of remorse for what he did", said Emily Nowak, Zemke's soon-to-be daughter in-law.

Haydon's attorneys have already filed a notice to appeal today's sentencing.

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