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Trial scheduled to begin for Appleton man, 35, accused of murdering his wife in 2004

Andrew Lemcke

GLENWOOD -- Five years and five months after Nichole Riley-Lemcke, 26, was fatally shot in her Appleton home, the trial for the man accused of her murder is about to start.

Attorneys in the first-degree murder trial for Andrew Gordon Lemcke, 35, of Appleton, are appearing today before District Judge John Stafsholt in Glenwood. The attorneys will be making final arguments on motions involving the type of evidence to allow at trial, and will begin sorting through written responses from prospective jurors in the case.

Jury selection is expected to get under way in Glenwood next week, and take much of the week. Testimony from the two sides could take two to three weeks to present, according to the court calendar.

Lemcke is charged with first-degree - premeditated murder and second-degree - intentional murder in the death of his wife on Sept. 12, 2004.

He was indicted on the charges by a Swift County grand jury in November 2008. A grand jury had also been convened in April 2005 but it did not indict.

Nichole Riley-Lemcke was pronounced dead at the Appleton Hospital.

Her husband had brought her there in his car, shortly after making a 911 call at 6:43 a.m.

He told authorities that the shooting was accidental, according to the court file. He said he was sleeping in the living room, and his wife had come into the room with a handgun, fired a shot, and voiced fears of a former boyfriend. Lemcke said the gun discharged as he attempted to wrestle it from her.

Materials presented to the court by prosecutors -- Swift County Attorney Robin Finke and Attorney Al Zdrazil with the Minnesota Attorney General's office -- allege that Lemcke was upset with his wife. She was leaving him and he had learned she had an encounter with another man only hours earlier.

They will present evidence that Lemcke was specially trained and proficient in the art of disarming someone; that the gun was a Smith & Wesson model SW40 he owned; and that a full seven minutes elapsed between the shooting and the 911 call.

Lemcke is currently free after having posted $10,000 bail after the indictment. He had been working as a corrections officer in Arizona and living with his daughter at the time.

Nichole Riley-Lemcke's parents, Kim and Gary Riley of Montevideo, had pressed for criminal charges against him. They had filed a civil lawsuit seeking access to investigatory materials after the first grand jury did not return an indictment. They also had filed a wrongful death suit against Lemcke prior to the 2008 indictment.

Gary Riley said it has been a long and tedious journey, but that he and his wife are looking forward to the trial and opportunity for justice. "(Looking forward) not so much to the process, but to the end,'' he said.