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Trial starts in 2008 Wisconsin Rapids killing

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (AP) — A trial is underway for the 55-year-old accused in the 2008 shooting death of a Wisconsin Rapids man who had been in a custody dispute with the defendant’s daughter.

Joseph Reinwand is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and faces up to life in prison if convicted in the death of Dale Meister, 35. Three of Meister’s friends found him dead on his couch on the afternoon of March 2.

Attorneys picked a jury panel Friday from Waushara County, according to Daily Tribune Media. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Evidence in the case led authorities to revisit the death of Reinwand’s former wife, Pamela, in 1984. She was 19 when she died of a gunshot wound, and Reinwand told deputies she committed suicide.

The medical examiner at the time concluded that suicide was a possibility but said there wasn’t enough evidence to distinguish between a suicide and something else. Later, family members, as well as inmates housed with Reinwand, told authorities they’d heard him confess, and Reinwand was charged in August with first-degree murder. He’s pleaded not guilty, and the case is set for trial next July.

In the 2008 case, Meister had previously told friends and family that he was afraid Reinwand would try to kill him, according to court documents. Meister and Reinwand’s daughter had a child together and were in the midst of a custody dispute.

The first-degree intentional homicide charge was filed in May 2013.

After Reinwand was charged, Wisconsin Rapids Police Detective-Lt. Julie Buerger testified that several attributes of the gun used to kill Meister were consistent with the gun owned by Reinwand.

Reinwand told a fellow inmate that he stalked, choked and shot Meister, according Buerger.

The trial is set to resume Monday.

Information from: Daily Tribune Media, http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com

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