Trial Begins for Man Accused of Murdering Wausau Teen

By: John DesRivieres Email
By: John DesRivieres Email

Wednesday marks the beginning of Raul Ponce-Rocha's murder trial.

He's the 23-year-old man accused of killing 18-year-old Breanna Schneller in May 2009.

Nearly two-years have passed since Ponce-Rocha's arrest.

Here’s a look back at what happened during that time.

  • May 2nd, 2009
The dead body of DC Everest high school senior, Breanna Schneller is found inside of her 12th Avenue apartment in Wausau with multiple stab wounds to the chest and neck. Authorities rule her death a homicide.

  • May 6th, 2009
A suspect is arrested. Raul Ponce-Rocha, 23, an employee at a Wausau Mexican restaurant, is charged with first degree intentional homicide in Schneller's death. At the time, investigators are unsure if he acted alone.

In the following days, authorities ruled out all other suspects and focused their investigation on Ponce-Rocha.

  • May 12th, 2009
Wausau police hold a press conference announcing their findings of a bag containing Schneller's cell phone, underwear, and two-pairs of mismatched gloves in a dumpster behind El Tequila Salsa, the restaurant where Ponce-Rocha worked.
While the police are doing their job, Schneller's family and friends keep her memory alive, by creating bracelets and t-shirts.

  • May 16th, 2009
Ponce-Rocha has his initial court appearance. Judge Patrick Brady sets bond at $1 million cash.

  • June 15th, 2009
At the preliminary hearing, Judge Brady decides there is enough evidence to send Ponce-Rocha to trial.

  • August 17th, 2009
Ponce-Rocha pleads not guilty to all charges against him, which now include a burglary and two theft charges.

  • October 9th, 2009
There's a twist in the case, Ponce-Rocha's attorney withdraws from the case, because the defendant hasn't paid his fee. A public defender eventually picks up the case, but there are months of delays as the new lawyer prepares for the trial.

  • November 12th, 2010
Judge Brady ruled that a jury from outside of Marathon County will decide Ponce-Rocha's fate. The cost to bring in the jury is estimated at just over $40,000 to the county.

  • January 4th, 2011
Jury selection begins in La Crosse County. Twelve jurors, along with two alternates are chosen. The same day, we learn one of the jurors will be excused due to a death in the family.

  • January 5th, 2011
The trial of Raul Ponce-Rocha is scheduled to begin in Marathon County. If convicted, Raul Ponce-Rocha faces life in prison.

Click the links below to read more on this case

Schneller Murder Suspect Held on $1 Million Cash Bond

Raul Ponce-Rocha Getting a New Attorney

Interview with Police Will Be Used in the Trial of Raul Ponce-Rocha

Murder Suspect's Legal Status Kept Confidential

Friends and Family of Murder Suspect in Disbelief

Schneller Murder Suspect Held on $1 Million Cash Bond- Click link also include the criminal complaint

Man Accused of Killing Breanna Schneller Enters Not Guilty Plea


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