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Jul 20 10 4:36 PM

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Poor Mrs. Diane Borchardt! So caring and kind. So full of
sympathy and compassion for everyone. Everyone that is,
except for her estranged second husband Ruben, whom
she arranges to have murdered,or her step-son Charles
"Chuck" who she points a finger towards as being the
"real killer.

                                  HAPPY BEGINNINGS

Ruben Borchardt, is a foreman at Schweiger Industries (furniture
manufacturer) and also runs a successful cabinet making business
from home.

                             RUBEN BORCHARDT

John Roth (friend of Ruben's since 3rd grade) "He'd (Ruben) walk into a
                  room and light it up with his smile.

Ruben Borchardt and his wife Susan built their home and embarked upon family
life by filling it with the sound of children, a daughter Brook, and a son Charles
"Chuck."  The happy couple plan out their lives together, full of promise and love.

Donna  "I knew Rueben and his first wife Sue who died tragically in a car
             accident. Very sad and both are missed greatly. Sue was my
             best friend and I was actually in Rueben and Sue's wedding.
             I loved them both."

                                     TRAGEDY STRIKES

1979 - February - Susan Borchardt, wife of Ruben, mother of Brook (3)
                           and Charles "Chuck" (1)  dies in a traffic accident near
                           their home. Ruben is devastated. 
                           Ruben Borchardt and Diane Pfister (secretary at Schweiger)  
                           are acquainted through work. Pfister is a divorced from her 
                           first husband. Diane knows what she wants, and allows
                           Ruben to see a motherly, kind and caring woman.

lostintherace "And a welcome gift that was; he had two little ones to care for... 
                       his love and life planned out for years gone, so vulnerable and
                       in shock) and she struck!"

                                    REMARRIAGE - A DESCENT INTO HELL

1979 -  October - Ruben Borchardt and Diane Pfister are married. 

 lostintherace "To think that a woman you thought was wonderful for taking 
                        on Ruben and his family, loving and raising them with care - 

                        a person you went to dinner with, sat and prayed with, left 
                        your children with; family gatherings was not
                        easy realizing how twisted she was."

                           Diane becomes a teacher's aide/study hall
                           monitor at Jefferson High School. She owns
                           a silk screening t-shirt business, Mrs. B.'s, 
                           and works at St. John's Lutheran Church as 
                           a custodian. Ruben begins concentrating on
                           his homebased business.

As study hall monitor Diane Borchardt becomes acquainted with students
Shannon Johnson, Doug Vest and Tim Quintero. Both boys are friends with
Josh Yanke. Vest & Quintero are cousins to  Michael Maldonado (dropped
out of school in 7th grade). 
Student "She was capable of being either ``real nice or a bitch."
Jeremy DeBlare "She had feelings for everyone. If a kid was crying,
                            she'd cry too."

                                    JEALOUSY OF THE DEAD
                          Diane becomes "abnormally possessive" of Ruben and the
                          children. Diane hides the fact that Susan was their mother
                          from Brook and Chuck. She tries to erase Susan from
                          Ruben and the children's lives.

Raymond Krek (Attorney & Ruben's friend) "Ruben was very social.
                        Diane was very antisocial -- and very anti-Susan. She
                        did everything she could to obliterate the memory of

1980 - June - Baby Regen Borchardt is welcomed into the Borchardt family.

A third grade classmate tells Brook the truth, that her real mother was Susan,
not her step-mother Diane.

Brook Borchardt "She was jealous, she wanted us to think she was our real 
                            mother. She would get furious when she even heard I
                            looked like Sue.''

                                    AN ABUSIVE MARRIAGE

          Ruben Borchardt tries to make his marriage work, but Diane does not. 
          Far from the kindly, motherly and loving woman he thought he'd married,
          she is verbally and physically abusive to him. She throws hard objects 
          at him, cutting and bruising his face. Those wounds are a testament
          to the suffering of the physical abuse, but the damage to his soul
          is unseen. Although Ruben believes he's the only one Diane abuses,
          his two children by Susan come in for their share of physical and
          verbal abuse from Diane, who dotes on Regen, and despises her
          step-children. Ruben takes the abuse, but never strikes back. 

 Brook & Chuck "For years dad tried to avoid fights. For the sake of tranquility, 
                          he urged us to respect Diane

                 Charles "Chuck" Borchardt and Brook Borchardt

Chuck Borchardt "Dad and Diane "fought all the time, mostly about Brook 
                            and I. "I don't think she ever really loved me, she was
                           always yelling at me."

 Brook Borchardt "I remember in the third grade, when I wished they would   
                            get divorced because they were constantly fighting. She  

                            just argued about anything -- whether the sky was blue,
Chuck Borchardt "My dad and I were close and we often hunted and fished

                               A DEADLY DECISION
1993 -(end of 93)  For 14 years Ruben Borchardt has lived with the loveless,
                           violent, and angry Diane. The outbursts, quarrels and mind
                           games from Diane are more than he's willing to take any-
                           more. He's reached a limit beyond which he will not go.
                           He's thought about divorce, but now, he's going to make
                           good on those thoughts.
                           Ruben is hired to do some cabinet work for Judy Pitt Frantz. 
                           As he works around Judy Frantz in her home, he begins to
                           realize what he's missed in his life... and in his marriage.

                           Ruben and Judy's friendship turns to love and Ruben 
                           decides he's going to file for a divorce from Diane.

                           Ruben speaks to Brook and Chuck, and they admit
                           that they'd been treated badly by Diane throughout
                           their lives. They encourage him, and tell him that he's
                           the happiest they've ever seen him.

                           Ruben informs Diane that he's going to file for a divorce.
                           Diane tries to excuse, explain away her lack of empathy
                           to no avail. Ruben is adamant that he's filing. Diane is
                           angry and doesn't want the divorce. She refuses to
                           leave the house. Ruben moves into the basement.

                                     RECRUITING SPIES
Diane Borchardt recruits two Jefferson chool students to spy on Ruben
and Judy. They take photos of the two together and give them to Diane.

Poor Mrs. B., she sighs, cries and mopes in class and in the hallways.
Doug Vest's parents had divorced, so he was sympathetic to the
motherly Mrs. B. Diane favors him and moves his desk closer to her
She denigrates Ruben every chance she gets and says she's being

Cory Bloomer "She'd be crying in class, and everyone knew about
                        the divorce.''

                                   DIVORCE FILING

1994 - January - Ruben Borchardt (41) files for divorce. He seeks to retain
                          custody of his son Charles "Chuck," his home, to which
                          he is the sole owner, and his business.

Diane's attorney informs her that Ruben, the original proprietor of the 
home, is seeking to keep the house. Diane, fuming, is outraged. In
relatiation, Diane tearfully, informs the pastor of their church about
Ruben's infidelity. The pastor informs Ruben that he can no longer
take communion.

                          Diane files and tries to gain custody of her step-son,

After New Years Ruben finds out Diane is trying to gain custody of his
son in a ploy to gain control of the house.

                          Ruben confronts Diane, who becomes violent,
                          physically attacking Ruben while Brook and
                          Chuck struggle to prevent her. Ruben, Brook
                          and Chuck urge her to seek counseling.

John Roth "Ruben felt she needed help, and he tried to get her help.
                  She'd turn it around that he needed help."

                Diane's silk screening t-shirt business is in financial difficulty.


                 Diane tries to secure title to Ruben's life insurance policy.

The atmosphere is so toxic, that Brook moves into a friend's home
but Chuck remains at home with his dad.

Chuck Borchardt "Mostly I stayed at a friend's house because I didn't
                            want to be there."

                                     DEATH THREATS

 Brook Borchardt "More than once Diane threatened dad. He took the threats 
                             threats so seriously that he would routinely line up empty

                             mayonnaise jars in a hallway leading to a cellar door; It
                             was his makeshift alarm system in case anyone tried to
                             sneak up on him."
                                   COURT ORDER
At the divorce proceeding Ruben Borchardt is granted physical custody
of his son Chuck, his business, and his house.
Diane Borchardt is granted physical custody of Regen and her business,
but is told to vacate the house by April 15th.

                         Diane Borchardt is furiously angry.

Raymond Krek "Divorce is bad, but it can mean a new life.
                         Ruben had lived in a coffin, and now he was
                         going to get possession of his life."

                          Diane isn't getting what she wants
                          and Ruben and the judge thwarted
                          her from getting it. She begins to
                          plan how she could put her threats
                          into action. She could have it all,
                          and Ruben...Ruben would be dead.

 Doug Vest "She (Mrs. B.) contacted me `"three, four or five times,'' claiming 
                   she needed my help to get rid of her husband. She said Ruben   
                   had physically abused
her." "During Study Hall she would whisper
                   "I"ll lose everything in the divorce."

                         Diane doesn't intend to take no for an answer. 
                         She manipulates Doug Vest pushing and
                         pressuring him to do murder for her. Mrs. B.
                         promises $20,000 from Ruben's insurance, plus
                         her wedding and engagement rings, and 2 cars.

                          Douglas Vest has dollar signs in his eyes.

Vest recruites his friend Josh Yanke, and his cousin, Michael Maldonado
as his fellow assassins.



 A Jefferson High School Mother "Diane picked on vulnerable children.
                                                    Every one of them had a single parent
                                                   or some problem in their life.''

Jose Villanueva (friend of Vest) "I can't explain how he got involved.
                                                   The money must have looked good
                                                   to a 16-year-old.'' 
Police "At least one other youth claims Diane asked him to help get rid of   
            her husband." There were two others Diane had approached. They'd
            turned her down, but didn't tell teachers, the principal, authorities, or
            even warn Ruben Borchardt.

                        Diane Borchardt draws a map of directions to her house 
                        and gives it to Tim Quintero.

                                   SETTING THE SCENE & AN ALIBI

1994 - April 1 -  Diane yells at Ruben and pushes him out of Diane B's, 
                        her silk screening business. An employee hears her
                        yell at Ruben, "You're scum and I don't want to see
                        you!" One time she whispers towards him, "you're dead."
                        Diane had agreed to pay for Chuck's eyeglasses, but
                        instead spent the money agreed upon, on Regen.
                        That night Diane deliberately picks a fight with Ruben 
                        over a sewing machine that had belonged to Susan
                        (Ruben's deceased first wife). Diane tells Ruben she
                        intends to sell it knowing he'll be upset. She begins
                        beating him and when he refuses to fight back, she
                        grabs and object and begins bashing him with it.
                        To protect himself, Ruben takes hold of Diane's
                        arms trying to prevent her from hitting him.

                        Diane calls police and tells them that Ruben is violent
                        and abusive.  When police arrive, Ruben disputes her
                        version of events. Police tell them to separate and to
                        cool off. Diane has what she wanted, official witnesses
                        to her leaving the residence, as part of her alibi.

                        Diane says that she's leaving the house. She packs up
                        Regen (14) and the dog. But before she goes, she
                        comes close to Ruben and whispers "You're dead."

                        Chuck had been present during the fight. After Diane
                        leaves, Ruben takes Chuck out to a restaurant where
                        they order cheeseburgers.

 Doug Vest "Mike (Maldonado) and I went to Milwaukee and bought a
                  .410-gauge sawed-off shotgun."

Shannon Johnson observes Diane Borchardt pass money to Doug Vest. 
Diane Borchadt gives Doug Vest $600 as a down payment for murder.
Shannon warns Doug Vest "not to rip her (Diane) off after you've agreed."

                                  "SOMETHING'S STRANGE"
  1994 - April 2 - Ruben Borchadt tells his children he senses trouble.
                       Diane Borchardt has gone visiting his former wife Susan's
                       parents, the Manthies, (200 miles away), and they have
                       never been close to Diane.

 Brook Borchardt "He said "something strange is going on."

Chuck Borchardt "She took along Regen and Bugsy (the family's miniature
                            Schnauzer) Bugsy. Diane had never taken the dog on a 
                            trip before." "It was strange that she wanted the dog along."

          Bugsy is a good watchdog. He barks wildly if anyone enters the house.

            10:30 P.M.- Ruben and Chuck are going to be ushers at St. John's
                              Lutheran Church at Easter Sunrise Service. They go
                              to bed early so they can be up at 3:30 A.M.

                                    MURDER FOR MONEY

1994 - April 3 - EASTER MORNING  3:30 A.M. - Ruben and Chuck intend   
                        to get up early so they can get to the church's service early.

                        Vest, Maldonado (15) and Yanke are on the Borchadt family 
                        property. Wearing new hooded sweatshirts and garden gloves,
                        They can't find the shop door that Diane promised would be
                        open. They attempt to break into the cellar, but fail. They
                        manage to break into the house through the garage.

                        As Josh Yanke cuts the phone line, Vest hands Maldonado
                        the sawed off shotgun as they search for Mr. Borchardt.
                        Yanke cuts the line and then flees the house.                     

                       Ruben Borchardt has just woken up and is going up the
                       stairs to wake Chuck so they can get ready to go to the church.

                        As Ruben goes up the cellar steps he encounters his killers.

         3:35 A.M. -  As Ruben reaches the top of the steps Maldonado fires the 
                           sawed off shotgun, blasting into Ruben's chest.
                          Chuck Borchardt (16) is startled awake from a sound sleep
                          in his bedroom. As he gets up he hears a gunshot.

 Chuck Borchardt "The next thing I remember is being awakened by the sound
                            of a shotgun blast."

                          Josh Yanke is outside and he hears the gunshot and a scream.

                          Ruben attempts to get away but another blast from the
                          shotgun hits him in the back and knocks him down the

                          Josh Yanke hears the second shot and another scream.

                          Vest, Maldonado and Yanke run for the car and flee.          

Doug Vest "We were all scared."

                                        Gunpowder hangs in the air. 

                          Chuck, an experienced hunter, recognizes the reek of
                          gunpowder as he approaches the living room. Hearing
                          moaning, he rushes to the stairs of the cellar.

Chuck Borchardt  "I heard my dad moaning and I looked down (an open
                             staircase) and saw my dad lying in a chair. He had
                             blood all over him and there was blood all over the

                          Chuck phones 911 for an ambulance and then he holds
                          his father's hand as they wait, telling him to hang on.
                          Ruben, still conscious, tells Chuck that two males shot  .
                          him. Twice his words to his son are "I can't believe she
                          (Diane) would do this."

                       An ambulance arrives and Ruben is rushed to the hospital.
                                          Ruben Borchardt dies.

Doug Vest, Mike Maldonado and Josh Yanke are in Milwaukee and enter a
Denny's restaurant where they calmly order cheeseburgers.

Josh Yanke "They asked if I wanted something, but I said "No, I'm not hungry."

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                                   THEY'RE GOING TO PUT ME IN JAIL"

             When the Manthies (parents of Ruben's first wife Susan) are notified
             of Ruben's murder. After Diane is told, she feigns shock and sadness.
             But the Manthies hear Diane tell Regen "I'm sorry, Regen" and "They're
             going to put me in jail."  Diane fails to ask any questions about the murder,
             raising their suspicions.

                                      OBITUARY JEALOUSY
William Hue (Attorney for Brook and Chuck) "I was struck by how bitterly
                     she (Diane) complained to me when Susan was mentioned in
                     Reuben's obituary. People say her motive was greed, but I
                     think it was obsession. If she couldn't have him, nobody else

    Diane Borchardt demands to attend Ruben's funeral as the "Grieving Widow."
    Ruben's family refuse to allow it. They already suspect her of being involved
    in Ruben's murder, and Brook Borchardt (19) directly accuses Diane of
    murdering their father. Diane denies being part of Ruben's death. Regen
    Borchardt has lost her father, but she doesn't believe her mother is

    Diane threatens to sue the funeral home for going ahead with Ruben's
    service without her consent, as she had not been present to arrange it.
    As the funeral takes place family pay their final loving respects to Ruben. 
    Diane pretends to grieve in front of the open casket to show everyone she's
    a grieving widow. 


                                      MURDER INVESTIGATION

                           Diane Borchardt refuses to assist police.
                           Of course, this places her firmly in their
                           sights as suspect.

                           Diane and Regen live in Ruben Borchardt's home.
                           Barbara Kulow, Ruben's sister, has gained custody
                           of Chuck, who transfers from Jefferson to Lake Mills
                           High to complete his junior year. Brook has been
                           attending Madison Area Technical College, but she
                           is on leave from school, and works full time at a
                           mentally handicapped group home in Jefferson.

                           Diane refuses to comment about the case.

Although there are no real leads for months, police know the gun used to
kill Ruben was a shotgun based on the bullets and on Chuck's statement.
Police divers search a pond on the Borchardt property looking for the

Doug Vest tells Josh Yanke multiple times "Don't talk to anyone about the

Josh Yanke "Doug Vest was convinced we wouldn't be caught because 
                   Shannon Johnson  had told him (Vest), that police officers 
                   were questioning her and she was planning to commit suicide. 
                   "He said the cops would think she (Shannon) did it,"

Detective Sgt. Jerry Lee (Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept.) "I would go
                                        to bed thinking of that case, and I would wake   
                                        up in the morning 
thinking of that case."

             Investigators are tipped off about photos students took for Diane.
             Under questioning they turn over the photos, and tell police that
             Diane shares her personal problems with the students, and has
             engaged in manipulating them.

                                       A PAYOFF...SORT OF....
                           Doug Vest, Mike Maldonado and Josh Yanke want 
                           to be paid for doing murder for Mrs. B. Doug pushes 
                           for the pay off from her and is impatient with her   
                           excuses. When Vest again pushes Mrs. Borchardt 
                           about the money, she tells him she can't get it because   
                           the police have been asking questions and have frozen   
                           her assets.
                           Diane is denied access to Ruben's life insurance policy.
                           She eventually gives the teens $1500.
                                      JOHN DOE HEARING
          Six months after the murder, and the conspirators haven't been fully paid.
          They're also having trouble keeping their mouths shut about the murder.
          Police suspect, but don't have evidence to charge Diane Borchardt.
Detective Sgt. Jerry Lee (Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept.) "Many
                                      community members contacted me following
                                      the murder. encouraging me to look at suspects
                                     other than Diane Borchardt, refusing to believe that
                                     she could be involved. I went on evidence. I did not
                                    go on emotion."

District Attorney Linda Larson launches a John Doe investigation which focuses
on the teens authorities suspect helped Diane commit murder. 
Witnesses in a
John Doe testify in a closed courtroom. A John Doe probe can be used to learn
if uncharged individuals were involved in a crime or if the defendants can be
charged in other crimes.
1994 - May 5 & June - A John Doe is convened. Shannon Johnson commits perjury
                                  while on the stand. 

Detective Brunk testifies that he sought a renewal of a subpoena for phone records
of co-defendant Maldonado's sister, among others. Brunk is asked by the court
whether he believed that the phone records would provide information into the
conspiracy to murder Ruben Borchardt? He answers "Yes."
Detective Lee testifies that based on his interviews with Doug Vest, there was a
possibility of Shannon Johnson having previously perjured herself and that more
investigation was required to see if she was involved in the murder as yet another

1994 - Sept. 28 - Doug Vest is interrogated and eventually confesses
                         to his part in Ruben Borchardt's murder. He implicates
                         Josh Yanke, Mike Maldonado, Shannon Johnson
                         and Mrs. B., Diane Borchardt.

                         Vest states that Diane Borchardt had solicited his
                         help in murdering her husband, and offered him, or
                         whoever would carry out the murder, $20,000 from
                         a life insurance policy, two rings, and a car.

                         Vest is arrested and charged as an adult, with first
                         degree murder.

District Attorney Linda Larson "He (Doug Vest) was in it for the money, and 
                                                that alone. He was the one pushing to get 
                                                paid after the murder."

Detective Sgt. Jerry Lee "During the course of the investigation, some people 
                                       I had known for many years would no longer speak
                                       to me.

                                       "It wasn't because I had any special hatred for her 
                                       or special friendship with Ruben. I was just going 
                                       based on the evidence that was presented to me
                                       as a detective, and the evidence kept going back
                                       to Diane."

Attorney Ron Hendree (Attorney for Doug Vest) "Vest decided to reject 
                                    the plea agreement because prosecutors refused
                                    to reduce the charge to second-degree intentional
                                    homicide. We strongly believe that his involvement
                                    in this crime mitigates to second degree."

1994 - September 29 - Josh Yanke is charged. He admits his role in the
                                    murder. He tells detectives that Doug's role was to
                                    organize the attack. His own, was to cut the phone
                                    cord and "take care" of Chuck Borchardt if he came
                                    out. A plea deal is cut between prosecutors and the
                                    defense. In exchange for Yanke's testimony, they
                                    recommend a sentence of 13 years to the judge.
Joshua Yanke "I just want to say to everybody that I'm sorry. I feel like I've let
                        everybody down. I just want to go through what I have to go
                        through and get on with the rest of my life. . . . I'm just sorry
                        for it all."
Jefferson County Circuit Judge J.R. Erwin ignores the plea deal.
SENTENCE: 18 years.

Judge J.R. Erwin "Mr. Yanke, you could have done the right thing. You
                             could have been a hero. Instead, you're a murderer."
1994 - October 12 - Police interview Tim Quintero twice and at each interview
                              he provides them written statements implicating Borchardt,
                              Vest, Maldonado and Yanke. Quintero provides investigators
                              with a map Diane Borchardt had drawn with directions to
                              Ruben's home.

1994 - October 13 - The John Doe hearing reconvenes. Witnesses are called
                              to testify, including Tim Quintero. Quintero's testimony
                              is the same as in the police interviews the day before.
                              Tim Quintero is given immunity for his testimony.
                                    MORE ARRESTS

         Harlan, Texas - Michael Maldonado turns himself in. He's extradited
                                  back to Wisconsin where he is arrested & charged
                                  as an adult, with first degree murder.

                                  Shannon Johnson is arrested while at work and
                                  charged with being party to first-degree intentional

                                  Doug Vest has filed a complaint against Johnson.
                                  In his statement Vest describes Johnson as Diane's
                                  lesbian lover, and alleges that Johnson threatened 
                                  him and his mother if he didn't do what Diane wanted.

                                  The criminal complaint "Johnson threatened to kill 
                                  Vest in an attempt to cover up the Easter morning
                                  murder. Shannon Johnson allegedly saw Borchardt
                                  give Vest $600 the day before the murder. Johnson
                                  allegedly "told Doug Vest that if Mrs. Borchardt got
                                  ripped off" or if Borchardt "was busted," she would
                                  kill him."

Attorney Hendree (Attorney for Doug Vest) "Diane knew Doug was vulnerable
                                                                    and she sent Shannon after him,"

          Shannon Johnson admits to telling him "not to rip her (Diane) off" after
          Vest accepted the money and agreed to do the killing. Charges of
          party to the crime of first-degree intentional homicide against Shannon
          Johnson were dropped after Doug Vest backed out of a plea agreement
          that would have included his testimony against Johnson. Shannon
          Johnson is still charged with perjury.

                                          MRS. B. ARRESTED

                                Diane Borchardt is in the classroom at school when
                                detectives enter and place her under arrest. Students
                                and staff are shocked as they see them handcuffed
                                and led away. Diane loudly protests her innocence
                                as she is taken away.
District Attorney Linda Larson "Diane was a mean, bitter, jealous woman,"
Detective Sgt. Jerry Lee (Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept.) " Evidence kept
                                       coming back to Diane. People not close to the situation
                                       were unaware that she could be two different people.
                                       There was the good person, got along with people and
                                       was nice. The other side of her, I call it the evil side,
                                       where she would treat people very bad."
                                           OUT ON BOND
Diane Pfister Borchardt's uncle Dean Pfister (Bluffton, IN.) posts Diane's 150,000


Diane Borchardt files a pretrial motion, claiming that Tim Quintero should not
be allowed to testify because the John Doe hearing was improperly continued
for the purpose of building a case against her and the three co-defendants after
they had been charged.

The trial court denied Diane's motion, ruling "that the primary purpose for calling
Quintero to testify in the John Doe was to determine whether or not there
were other parties involved in Ruben's murder.

The court held this was a proper purpose, and that a substantial portion   
of Quintero's testimony was simply to confirm his two previous statements
for which he was given immunity. As Quintero was given immunity, the court
held that the State received no benefit from having him make statements under
oath rather than not under oath. Quintero's John Doe testimony, which would
amount to naught, since he had already given police two written statements
prior to the John Doe hearing."

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                                   DOUG VEST TRIAL
District Attorney Linda A. Larson "Vest was the foreman in an evil enterprise.
                                                    While Mrs. Borchardt initiated the plot,
                                                    it was Vest who methodically planned its
                                                    execution, recruited Maldonado and Yanke
                                                    and helped obtain the weapon."
                                                    "Without Doug Vest, Michael Maldonado 
                                                    and Joshua Yanke would not be killers."

Doug Vest testifies that it was Mrs. B who originated the murder plot.

Doug Vest admits to being present when Ruben Borchardt was shot after
they had sneaked into the family's home. Vest also testified that Shannon
Johnson had threatened to harm him and his mother unless he went through
with the murder.
Doug Vest "Shannon Johnson threatened me while I visited the T-shirt shop
                  owned by Mrs. Borchardt."
Shannon Johnson testifies and claims she simply asked Doug 
"Are you really going to do it?" He said "I won't get caught,"
I told him "You better not rip her off."
Shannon Johnson testfies "I thought suicide might divert suspicion
from Miss B. Johnson called Diane a "mother figure" for whom she
would do "  "I spoke with Vest two months after the slaying, hoping
to get details for a suicide note. I considered using the note along
with a false confession to divert suspicion from Miss B."
"I was going to leave a note and kill myself. I didn't want Miss B. to

get caught. She had so much more to live for than I did. I didn't want
Regen to be without a mother or a father."

Ron Hendree (Vest's attorney) argues that Johnson's testimony follows
a proposed agreement, reached during a closed-door court investigation
that involved dismissal of charges against her, plus a light sentence for
District Attorney Linda Larson "The murder charge against Johnson was
                                                 dropped because she did not actually
                                                 participate in the slaying."

Shannon Johnson was clearly aware of a plot against Ruben Borchardt's life.
She could have saved him by warning him directly, or authorities. She did not.

Yanke tells the jury how they became involved in the murder and how it
"The three of us went to Borchardt's home about 3:30 a.m. Easter morning.
 It was my job  to disconnect the telephone and "take care of" Mr. Borchardt's
son, Charles, if he came out. I disconnected the kitchen telephone as as 
Doug and Mike headed down a hallway to look for Mr. Borchardt."

As soon as I disconnected the telephone I fled. I didn't wait to see if Mr.
Borchardt's son came out of his room. I was running and I heard a shot and
a scream. I stopped, and then I heard another shot and a scream. At the time
of the second shot, Doug came running out. The three of us ran to the car and
began driving towards Milwaukee.
"Mike said, `I don't know if I killed him. He just kept saying that over and over."
We didn't talk much during the remainder of the drive. We were all shocked

and scared," he said.

A short distance from the Borchardt home, Mike Maldonado threw the gun
from the car window. A short distance later, we threw out the gloves we'd
bought earlier that night at a service station. After the murder, we went to
a Denny's restaurant in Milwaukee and ordered cheeseburgers.

"They asked if I wanted something but I said "No, I'm not hungry."
"In the days afterwards, we talked about buying stereo equipment with the money
we were going to get from Mrs. Borchardt. But when Doug Vest asked Mrs.
Borchardt about the money, she told him she could not get it because the
police had been asking questions and had frozen her assets.
Doug also told me repeatedly not to talk to anyone about the murder.

At one point Doug was convinced they would not be caught because
had told him police officers were questioning her and she was planning
to commit suicide. "He said the cops would think she did it," 

The jury finds Douglas "Doug" Vest Jr. Guilty of First degree murder.
SENTENCE - Life in prison. Vest is not eligible for parole until he has
                   served 25 years of his sentence.
                                       APPEAL - DENIED

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#3 [url]

Jul 20 10 9:17 PM

                                   TRIALS & SENTENCES
Michael "Mike" Maldonado is found guilty of first-degree murder.
Sentenced to Life in prison. He is not eligible for parole until he
has served 50 years of his sentence.
Shannon Johnson is found guilty of perjury, and receives an eighty-day jail
sentence along with two years probation.
                                DIANE PFISTER BORCHARDT TRIAL
                                  With Mugshot photos of Diane Borchardt

At Diane's trial, the teens testifie in great detail that Mrs. B. was the originator
of the murder plot.

Doug Vest  "Diane Borchardt hired me to kill Ruben Borchardt."
                   I was right there with Mike Maldonado. I passed
                   the gun over to Maldonado just before Ruben
                   Borchardt was shot."
Charles "Chuck" Borchardt and his sister Brook testify against Diane,
chronicling the verbal and physical abuse their father suffered at her hands.
Evidence is shown of how Ruben was afraid of Diane, and how he stacked empty
mayonnaise jars in the doorway of the basement where he slept as an "alarm" in
case she tried to harm him while he slept.
Josh Yanke's testimony corroborates Doug Vest's.
He testifies that Mrs. B. had solicited the murder of her husband,
offering them cash, rings, and a car.
Quintero testifies about the map of directions to her residence that Mrs. B.  
had drawn.
A handwriting expert verifies the map as being in Mrs. Borchardt's handwriting.
Shannon Johnson testifies that on the day before the murder, she observed
Borchardt pass something to Vest.
The Manthies testifi that Diane and Regen were visiting. They also testify to
hearing Diane say "I'm sorry; I'm sorry, Regen" and "They're going to put me
in jail"after she found out that Ruben had been murdered
Witnesses testified Borchardt was a beneficiary under Ruben's life insurance
policy and hadn't been removed from either the policy, or his will at the time
of the murder.
Friends and acquaintances testified that Diane had said "I want to "get rid of him"
on more than one occasion, and that her business was in financial straits.
An investigator and the two boys testified to "undercover pictures and
surveillance of Ruben and Judy.
                                   POINTING THE FINGER AT HER STEP-SON
Diane Borchardt wants her defense attorney to single out her step-son
Charles "Chuck" Borchardt as being a suspect in the death of Ruben,
his father. It is the defense's strategy to NOT implicate Chuck in his
father's death.
In fact, the defense could find nothing that showed Chuck had anything other
than a good relationship with his father. There is no evidence to connect
him to the murder weapon. Blaming him could backfire with the jury.
Diane Pfister Borchardt is found Guilty of First-degree Murder.
Diane Borchardt "I swear I never did this. There's all kinds of evidence that
                            would prove I didn't."
Judge Ullsvik "Evidence of your aiding and solicitation was overwhelming.
                       It is the greatest possible crime and you are more dangerous
                       than Doug Vest."

SENTENCE-  Life in prison. She is not eligible for parole until
she has served 45 years of her sentence. She'll be 86 years

                   Brook Borchardt - Fisher  "I think she should have gotten life without
                                      parole or the death penalty, that's what she gave my dad."

Raymond Krek "What made the crime so heinous was that it affected the lives of so 
                        many kids. It's unlikely the killers were the only three Diane solicited. 
                        It's likely others thought about it for a moment, rejected it and are 
                        plagued by the idea `I almost did the dirty work. I almost did it.' ''

                       This is a town where you can walk in the dark without any concerns.
                       That this did happen here, that kids could be hired for murder, is

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#4 [url]

Jul 20 10 9:19 PM

                             APPEALS & MOTION FOR NEW TRIALS

1996 - December - Lawyers for Diane Borchardt (46), and Michael Maldonado (17),
                             seek new trials in a post conviction motion. The same issues
                             are argued to the trial court that are on appeal.
                             The trial court DENIES the motion.
 "There is enough evidence in the record to support the fact that a new trial is not 
  warranted in this matter and that justice was served. As we affirm the rulings of 
  the trial court, Borchardt's request for a new trial is therefore denied."
1998 - April 3 -  APPEAL

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#5 [url]

Jul 20 10 9:53 PM

Poor, Poor, Mrs. B., so motherly, compassionate and kind.
She now sits in Taycheedah Correctional Institution and moans
about being penniless and about her appeals. (DENIED)
She complains and laments about being incarcerated for a
crime she was "set up to take the blame for.
 2006 -
My name is Diane Borchardt . I was born at St Mary's Hospital in Madison,
Wisconsin on August 8, 1949. My case number is 94cf313.
My appeal attorney filed an appeal on my behalf on April 23, 1998.
It was denied with extensive media.
Thus now I'm in my eleventh year here, twelfth year of being wrongly convicted.
I received a 40 year sentence for a crime that I was never a part of, did not
conspire to, nor want in any way shape or form.
Yes, my husband was divorcing me after 15 years. No, I was not unhappy
nor fighting it. With the household equally split-the dining room floor to ceiling,
my husband beats me up April 2nd upon arriving in town. I decide to report it
to the sheriff (It is Saturday, my divorce attorney is not in).
While recording it, my thirteen year old comes over to let me know that daddy
is on his way to the store. Since I owned Mrs B's silk Screen , Ruben, my
husband was to be on the property (due to a lot of BS done by him and his
divorce attorney) without me present. The sheriff comes with me, they talk
to Ruben, then they advise me not to return to our home that night.
"Give him some time to cool off. "
Thus from this my husband is found shot in the basement of our rural Jefferson
home at 3:45 am. With no DNA taken, no GSR testing on my son(16, the only
person in our home), they concluded that I had done this. Upon locating me in
Wautoma "noon" April 3rd, the next day the newspaper reported "Husband
found shot in rural Jefferson , it looks like a murder for hire by wife. "
Please, no one will help me as I have no money. I was declared dead in civil court,
thus disinheriting everything.


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#6 [url]

Jul 20 10 10:04 PM

                                    WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT
1994 - The Borchardt children file a wrongful death civil lawsuit against
           Diane Borchardt.

1996 - January 24 - The Borchardts' three children, Brook, Charles & Regan
                               want to sell the house and divide the proceeds among
                               them, but Diane Borchardt wants the youngest girl, her
                               daughter with Ruben, to receive her (Diane's) entire share.
The judge rejects their petition to force the sale, saying "I have no authority to
force a widow to sell her share, even though she was convicted of killing him."
                                    A LATER RULING
A judge rules that the Borchardt house be sold.

Attorney Raymond Krek "The agreement covers about $61,000 from the sale of
                                       the house. The children Regen and Charles Borchardt
                                       and Brook(Borchardt) Fischer will get about $14,000
                                       Two attorneys will also receive a portion.
                                       Diane Borchardt won't get any share of Ruben Borchardt's

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#7 [url]

Oct 5 12 10:16 AM

I guess all I can say is this...lets get the facts right then distort them accordingly. Has anyone seen "The Hurricane" with Denzel Washington? Jumping to conclusions is great for exercise, but terrible for judgment. Michael Maldonado should and maybe will be free and this whole story becomes just another gossip column. Diane should not be in prison. Chuck should be, but not for knowingly participating in Ruben's death, but nevertheless responsible.

The gun was never found, but can be. Do any of you even know any of these people? Diane, Mike, Josh, Jeb ect.? No. I do.  Did you get this great story from the papers? And its det. Larry Lee not Jerry Lee. Moot I know, but at least get the facts right.

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#8 [url]

Oct 12 12 3:37 PM

      I guess all I can say is this...lets get the facts right then distort them accordingly. Has anyone seen "The Hurricane" with Denzel Washington? Jumping to conclusions is great for exercise, but terrible for judgment. Michael Maldonado should and maybe will be free and this whole story becomes just another gossip column. Diane should not be in prison. Chuck should be, but not for knowingly participating in Ruben's death, but nevertheless responsible.
The gun was never found, but can be. Do any of you even know any of these people? Diane, Mike, Josh, Jeb ect.? No. I do.  Did you get this great story from the papers? And its det. Larry Lee not Jerry Lee. Moot I know, but at least get the facts right.


 Direct statements of individuals in cases from newspapers online and from television shows.
=Law enforcement and a jury say otherwise - Diane will serve her term as will the others.

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#10 [url]

Nov 4 12 7:50 PM

Haha,I've followed this case for 15 years now....who's the dummy citing movie plots,and saying everyone's got it all wrong?! What a hoot! That made my day,really it did. What a total twit! I just found the recipient of "the moron of the month" award! Congratulations! You are officially the biggest idiot and tool I've seen in a long time!!!

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#11 [url]

Nov 16 16 5:10 PM


Diane is guilty as sin. For anybody to think any different is clueless.

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