Sentencing Date set for Man Convicted of Killing Wife

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email
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UPDATE: Wed 1:05 PM, April 23, 2014

A sentencing date has been set for July 3 for the Merrill man convicted of killing his wife and dumping her body in a Taylor County swamp.

A jury found Mark Bucki guilty April 16 on all counts.

Bucki already faces a mandatory life sentence. The sentencing hearing will determine if Bucki is eligible for parole.

Bucki remains in custody in the Lincoln County jail.

UPDATE: Tues 12:14 PM, April 16, 2014

After deliberating for more than 10 hours, spanning two days, a jury has found Mark Bucki guilty of killing his wife Anita, and dumping her body in a swamp in April 2013. He faces a mandatory life sentence.

Mark Bucki showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

Bucki's trial began April 7 and was expected to last two weeks. Jurors heard testimony from law enforcement, Anita's friends, forensic experts, the Bucki's son, and Mark Bucki, himself.

The defense presented its case based on the fact there was no concrete evidence linking Mark to the murder. Clint Bucki, the couple's adult son, told the court his father was innocent.

The state explained to jurors that Mark impeded the investigation by not helping with search. And cited circumstantial evidence like Mark's financial state, Anita's life insurance policy, and a lack of defensive wounds on her body alleging she knew her killer.

A sentencing date has not yet been set. At the hearing, Bucki's parole eligibility will be discussed.


UPDATE: 11:29 AM, 4/16/14

The jury has reached a verdict in the Mark Bucki Murder Case. It's expected in about 45 minutes.

UPDATE: 8:45pm, 4/15/14

After nearly five hours deliberation, the jury has finished it's day without reaching a verdict.

The judge has ordered them back to work first thing Wednesday morning.


The jury began deliberations in the Mark Bucki trial at about 3:45 Tuesday afternoon.

Court officials say if they'll stay at it until 9pm and, if they don't reach a verdict, they'll resume Wednesday morning.


UPDATE: Tues 11:56 PM, April 15, 2014

The Mark Bucki trial appears to be wrapping as the Bucki was called to the stand by the defense and cross examined by the prosecution.

Bucki was questioned about the specific details of his relationship and choices he made following Anita's disappearance.

Mark Bucki told the court Tuesday morning carpet taken out of a bedroom in their home was removed when Anita took some things out of the room. He said Anita went to live with their son on April 15, 2013.

Anita was reported missing by Mark on April 26, 2013. He says the night before she went missing they had a conversation about their marriage issues and Anita seemed fine.

“I went to bed around midnight. I thought everything was good, I.. We just went over and over what we said was going to happen. She was staying at Jane's she was going to get her own apartment, what not. I was good there. I thought she was too. Everything was calm,” he said of their final conversation.

Mark says he had nothing to do with the death of his wife and doesn't know who's responsible.

The prosecution also questioned Mark about his calls to police after his wife's disappearance. He said he didn't call police to ask about the investigation, or offer help for nearly two weeks after she disappeared.

On May 13th, at 9 am law enforcement asked mark to come in stating it was important. He said he could not make it until 1 p.m.

Mark later said he didn't call because he didn't believe in pestering, and thought if they had any questions, they would call him.

The prosecution also questioned Mark about his financial status, bringing up the fact he had not been work. Prosecutors also asked about a life insurance policy that had been on Anita. The policy was reportedly for $150,000. Mark told the court Tuesday he was aware of the policy and thought he would most likely be the beneficiary.

Deliberations could begin as early as this afternoon.

NewsChannel 7 is in the courtroom and will bring you any developments.

UPDATE: Mon 11:51 AM, April 14, 2014

Jurors will hear testimony from witnesses called by the defense during week two of the Mark Bucki trial, which began Monday morning.

Bucki is accused of killing his wife, Anita last April and dumping her body in swampy area in Taylor County.

Monday morning a forensic scientist took the stand. He analyzed fibers from the bed of Mark Bucki's pickup truck that may have been from a pair of jean.

"Your conclusion was that fibers found in the truck were inconsistent with the fibers that you compared to the fibers from Mrs.Bucki?"

"Yes. That particular fiber fragment was inconsistent based on the dye application,” Said Forensic Scientist, Raymond Lenz on the stand.

Also in court was a forensic expert from the state crime lab who testified about the samples analyzed from the bed of Mark Bucki's truck. A photograph of the bed of the truck was taken April 26th showing hand prints and smudges. But an analyst with the Wisconsin state crime lab says when she arrived on April 30th, the bed of the truck looked much different.

"There are several smudges and a fair amount of dirt in those photos, and when i examined the truck it was very clean,” Said Senior Analyst for the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, Anna Schmitz.

Monday afternoon the defense is expected to call a pathologist to testify via video. The defense is expected to finish calling witnesses Tuesday.

UPDATE: Thurs 1:23 PM, April 10, 2014

In day four of the Mark Bucki trial jurors heard testimony from the couple's son, Clint Bucki.

He called his mother a "wonderful woman." He told the court that he still supports his father 110 percent.
Calling him "innocent."

During his testimony he talked about the kind of woman his mother, Anita, was and what he first thought happened to her. He said Anita had been miserable and initially thought it could have been suicide or that she may have been harmed by the friend's boyfriend she was staying with - describing him as a “junkie.”

Clint also told the jury his mom came to stay with him and his wife in Minnesota for awhile. The plan he said was for her to stay until she figured out things in her marriage.

"In the beginning it was to have space... At the end she was going to try to go back home rekindle the marriage," he said.

Clint told the jury the last time he heard from his mother Anita was the day before she disappeared. When the two had spoken on the phone.

“Honestly, she sounded at peace. She had a job lined up and was going to work to make a better life,” he explained of their final conversation.

In an interview with sheriff's deputies on May 2 following his mom's disappearance, Clint said it was not like his mom to leave $3,000 laying about. Adding, they had talked about that if she left their motto was take nothing and be gone.

The trial is expected to last through next week.

UPDATE: Wed 12:14 PM, April 9, 2014

Jurors in the Mark Bucki trial heard testimony during day three Wednesday from one of the handlers of a cadaver dog that responded to the Bucki home during the initial stages of the investigation.

The prosecution called Officer Solon McGill. He was called to the Bucki home with his dog to search for human remains.

He says dog hit on areas outside the home, Mark's truck bed, and the trailer behind his ATV. It also indicated signs of human remains in the home's bathroom.

“She got into bathroom. Nose ran along upper portion of counter top, final response on drain of bathtub,” McGill explained during testimony Wednesday.

He says the dog also signaled human remains in one of the bedrooms where carpet had been removed.

McGill continued saying, “Went to areas where carpeting had been removed. Dropped the head, scenting off of floor... not air scenting. She sniffed an area where carpet was removed and showed interested on removed carpet. Final response in this room. She drew in deep breath at scene of carpeting, final response.”

Officer McGill also told the court that there's no way to know what kind of human remains may have been in the house. For example, the dog could have been smelling a tooth of Anita's.

Mark Bucki has said he removed that carpeting because it smelled of cat urine.

Testimony will continue Wednesday afternoon. Clare Kaley is in the courtroom and will share any developments as they happen.

UPDATE: Tues 5:35 PM, April 8, 2014

In day two of the Mark Bucki trial, jurors heard from forensic experts, 911 dispatchers and the victim's friends, who gave some emotional testimony on the stand.

Tuesday, a former co-worker read emails she exchanged with Anita Bucki just weeks before she disappeared.
“She said last November, 'My husband told me he never loved me and I am not his companion... because I [Mark Bucki] am with someone else”, said Arla Luetschwager, Anita's former co-worker as she testified Tuesday morning.

“Sorry to be so trying. Life is tough some days. I do not know what is happening for sure, but I’m fighting for my marriage,” read Luetschwager.

Luetschwager said she was trying to get Anita Bucki a job at Aspirus Wausau hospital. A job she says Anita hoped would help save her marriage

"I hope I can survive the next couple months. If I get the Aspirus job, that would be a help. If not, I am no worse off. And I pray that my husband will see that me, his wife, is better, and deserves a second chance, than someone he just met,” Luetschwager read.

The woman who was allegedly Mark's girlfriend at the time also testified Tuesday. But, Angie Mattson says she never considered Mark Bucki to be her boyfriend. She called them "close friends" and that he was helping her through a tough part of her marriage.

The prosecution believes Mark Bucki showed his aggressive side when he sent a text to Angie regarding her husband's physical abuse.

"As I said the other day, you tell him if he lays a hand on you, this old infantry boy still has it. your call,” Mattson said Tuesday as she read the text message in court.

But she says she wasn't too concerned by what the prosecution calls a protective and aggressive trait in Mark Bucki.

"Never really discussed it, sent text message, didn't think anything by it. Didn't feel it was a threat,” Mattson said.

She also spoke of her own feelings towards Anita Bucki. "I did not feel threatened by Anita,” she said.

Day three continues Wednesday. NewsChannel 7's Clare Kaley will be in the courtroom.

UPDATE: Tues 11:15 PM, April 8, 2014

The jury trial against Mark Bucki continued in Lincoln County Tuesday with the prosecution calling witnesses to testify... including the a dispatcher who took the 911 call by Mark Bucki the day his wife, Anita was reported missing.

The prosecution played the call from April 26, 2013 which Mark Bucki states his estranged wife was in a dark place.

Audio played in court is transcribed as follows

(Dispatcher)"And does she have any history of mental illness or anything like that?”
(Mark Bucki) “Well, I mean, the last she's [in audible], she is psychologically a mess the last two weeks because of us splitting up and everything.”
(Dispatcher) “Right.”
(Mark Bucki) “I got texts from her that I didn't even answer because, I mean, like she's going to kill herself on most of them"

The prosecution and defense asked the dispatcher if with her 11 years of experience as a dispatcher, if she felt Mark Bucki showed any emotion during the 911 call.

Audio played in court is transcribed as follows

(Mark Bucki) "I'm trying to figure out what to tell my son, because he's tried to call her twice. It looks like, on the cell phone, and I don't know what to tell him.
(Dispatcher) No, at this point, nothing until you speak to us.
(Mark Bucki) [inaudible] I ain't say nothing I just thought she'd come [inaudible] too long so..."

"Is it still your position that he did not sound emotional,” asked Defense Attorney Jessica Schuster to the dispatcher.

“Sounded like maybe a sniffle, but otherwise no,” Explained the dispatcher.

Also taking the witness stand this morning was one of Anita's friends; who requested not to be identified.

She testified that despite their marriage problems Anita believe her and husband could work through their problems.

One of Anita's former co-workers at Aspirus Wausau took the witness stand Tuesday morning. She discussed emails her and Anita exchanged and Anita said, "Life is tough some days. I'm fighting for my marriage."

During the testimony Mark Bucki did appear emotional.

UPDATE: Sun 9:16 AM, April 6, 2014

Mark Bucki's murder trial is slated to begin the morning of April 6th, 2014. Jury selection may be done as soon as Monday morning, and opening statements may begin Monday afternoon.

UPDATE: Tues 9:37 PM, Oct.22, 2013

A trial date is set for the Lincoln County man accused of murdering his wife.

Mark Bucki, 49, of rural Merrill is charged with murder, strangulation and suffocation and hiding a corpse.

Online court records say a date for the trial was set today during a court hearing in Lincoln County and is scheduled to begin April, 7 2014.

Two weeks have been blocked off the calender for the proceedings.

Anita Bucki was reported missing in April. Her body was found a few weeks later about 20 miles from their home.

Investigators say she had 7 stab wounds to the chest and severe bruising around her throat.

Earlier this month, a defense motion to dismiss the case was denied.

UPDATE: Tues 5:33 PM, Oct. 1, 2013

A 49-year-old Merrill man accused of killing his wife and dumping her body in a Taylor County swamp wants his case dismissed. But, Tuesday in Lincoln Count Court Judge Jay Tlusty denied that request.

The judge says there is probable cause to continue the trial based on the preliminary examination.

Some things Judge Tlusty mentioned was that he was the last one to see Anita before she went missing and the lack of emotion he had when he reported her missing in April.

The judge also said the clothing she was found in didn't agree with the freezing temperatures at the time. She was found wearing a bathrobe, jeans, a shirt, underwear and socks. He also said the items she left behind create probable cause, citing her cellphone, coat, and purse containing $3,000.

Bucki is charged with 1st degree intentional homicide, hiding a corpse and strangulation and suffocation.

Lawyers will meet to discuss trial scheduling at the end of the month.

ORIGINAL STORY: Thurs 12:01 PM, Sept 19, 2013

A 49-year-old Merrill man accused of killing his wife and dumping her body in a Taylor County swamp has pleaded not guilty.

Mark Bucki is charged with 1st degree intentional homicide, strangulation and suffocation, and hiding a corpse.

Prosecutors say he killed Anita Bucki, 48. Anita was reported missing on April 26. Mark reported that he went to bed and Anita remained up. Mark told investigators he woke up at around 5 a.m. and at that time she was gone.

Her body was found May 10 in a ditch on County Highway C about 10 miles northeast of Medford.

Investigators say they found blood on the living room carpet of the Buckis' house, on Mark's boots, jeans and a hat. They're still waiting on lab results to confirm it's human blood, as Mark was an avid hunter.

Cadaver dogs also hit on Mark's pickup truck and what appeared to be a shallow grave with nothing in it.

The dogs also hit on a shower in the home and burn barrel outside, according to the criminal complaint.

Mark told investigators that he cleaned some of Anita's belongings out of the basement, ripped carpet out of a bedroom and burned some of Anita's items the day she was reported missing.

During an interview with NewsChannel 7, Anita's family said Mark and she had been married for 23 years. However, she hadn't been staying with him in the two weeks prior to her disappearance.

Anita's cause of death has not yet been determined however the pathologist says she had seven stab wounds to the chest and bruising on her neck and throat.

During Friday's hearing, a motion filed by the defense to reduce Bucki's bond was denied.

Mark Bucki remains behind bars on $2 million cash bond.

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