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Murder suspect's defense team wants own expert to analyze case evidence

Andrew Lemcke

BENSON -- Defense attorneys for Andrew Gordon Lemcke, 35, of Appleton, want access to a Smith & Wesson handgun and other physical evidence for analysis by their own outside expert in anticipation of his upcoming trial for the shooting death of his wife.

Lemcke is charged with first-degree murder - premeditated and second-degree, intentional murder in the Sept. 12, 2004, death of Nichole Riley-Lemcke, 26, in their home in Appleton. She was shot at close range, through the chin, and died at the hospital in Appleton. The court will hold a hearing Dec. 18 on defense motions seeking to obtain the Smith & Wesson model SW40 pistol. The defense is also asking the state to release a casting of the bullet hole performed by a forensic expert with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Both the handgun and the casting are in the possession of the BCA. It is the investigative agency's policy not to release evidentiary materials, according to a response from the prosecution to the defense request.

The defense wants to have its own expert analyze the evidence. The expert would have to make a trip from out of state to view the evidence while it remains in the BCA's possession, according to the defense motion.

The Smith & Wesson pistol is very similar to the Glock, and was designed for law enforcement and military use, according to its manufacturer.

Forensic evidence collected at the site of the shooting will be a central feature of the prosecution's case against the defendant, according to court records filed earlier in the case.

The case is currently on the court docket for a February trial. It had initially been scheduled for October, but the public defender assigned to the case resigned in September to pursue a career opportunity. The new primary defense attorney in the case, James Fleming, of Mankato, asked for time to prepare.

The original public defender had also filed appeals in the case.

In late November, the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to hear the appeals. The court let stand without comment rulings by District Judge Jon Stafsholt that allow the case to move to trial.

The appeal had asked for the dismissal of charges. The defense argued that there was insufficient evidence for the indictments issued by a Swift County grand jury in November 2008. It also alleged that inadmissible evidence had been presented to the grand jury and other significant prosecutorial mistakes had occurred.