A Friesland man accused of murdering his wife outside a Portage motel two years ago is seeking new counsel in his case.
Kevin K. Krueger, 53, appeared in Columbia County Circuit Court on Thursday charged with four felonies: first-degree intentional homicide, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a narcotic drug, and stalking, resulting in bodily harm. The first count carries a potential life sentence while the other three add another possible 26 years to his sentence.
Krueger is accused of shooting his wife, Tracy Hill Krueger, 41, of Portage, on Feb. 15, 2016, outside the Ridge Motor Inn where she was staying while in the process of moving back to Wisconsin from Tennessee. The two were scheduled for a divorce hearing in court later that week.
Less than 30 minutes after the shooting, Krueger was spotted by a Columbia County Sheriff’s deputy and arrested on Klappstein Road off Highway 16 on the western edge of Portage. In the Jeep that Krueger was driving, officers found a shotgun, shells and the prescription painkiller oxycodone.
The hearing Thursday was scheduled after Krueger wrote a letter to Judge W. Andrew Voigt, accusing his defense attorney, Robert Nagel, of failing to listen to him and respect his input in the case.
“I feel as if yourself and investigator Garrott have made personal remarks that mock myself and my case,” Krueger wrote in a Jan. 1 letter to Nagel. “These personal remarks regarding your perception of case events are unacceptable, unethical and unprofessional.”
Nagel was brought onto the case when Krueger requested new representation on Aug. 16, 2016. Krueger had been represented by Ronald Benavides and Leonie Dolch until the substitution request.
District Attorney Jane Kohlwey offered no position on Krueger’s latest request Thursday and Voigt approved the motion. Krueger is requesting a new attorney be appointed by the State Public Defender’s Office.
On April 21, 2016, Krueger entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, demanding a speedy trial. A trial date was scheduled within 90 days but then canceled on May 31 due to the inability of a psychologist to prepare a report for a trial within that time.
One report was filed Aug. 8, 2016, with a second requested and discussed in a status conference last Feb. 20, but not reported as submitted since then. The last update on the matter was filed March 18, in which psychologist Diane Lytton requested additional time for the evaluation, pointing to the sizable evidence she needed to parse, estimating a completion time of early April 2017.
Despite the change in representation, Krueger is still scheduled for a jury trial beginning June 18.