James Emerson Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Murder of Rhonda Mertes

By: WSAW Staff
By: WSAW Staff

James Emerson has been sentenced to life in prison without the chance at parole by Judge Greg Grau.

Marathon County District Attorney Jill Falstad and Rhonda Mertes' Family had asked Judge Grau for life without the possibility of parole during the sentencing Monday morning.

During the hearing, Emerson admitted to several other crimes on his record, but maintained his innocence in the murder of Rhonda Mertes.

Prosecutors say he beat Mertes to death in 1999 after sexually assaulting or trying to sexually assault her.

The 45-year-old Emerson was arrested in May 2007 after tests found his DNA on her body and witnesses came forward to say he confessed to them.

Jurors found Emerson guilty in February.

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