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THE MURDER FOR HIRE KILLING OF RUBEN BORCHARDT
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
Ruben Borchardt, is a foreman at Schweiger Industries (furniture
manufacturer) and also runs a successful cabinet making business
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."
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 shared...it 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.
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
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
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."
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."
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."
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."