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Man again seeks permission to blame others in 1976 murders

MARINETTE, Wis. (AP) — An 84-year-old man is again asking a state appeals court to intervene before he goes on trial for a double murder.

Raymand Vannieuwenhoven is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the 1976 deaths of 25-year-old David Schuldes and 24-year-old Ellen Matheys. The two were shot in a county park.

Vannieuwenhoven’s trial is scheduled to start July 19 but he’s asking for permission to blame others for the deaths. In Wisconsin, the defense must meet certain criteria and get a judge’s permission to argue before a jury that another suspect is responsible for a crime.

The murders of Schuldes and Matheys were unsolved for more than four decades. Prosecutors charged Vannieuwenhoven after a DNA sample from evidence at the scene was found to match his in 2019.

Vannieuwenhoven also allegedly sexually assaulted Matheys, but a sexual assault charge was dismissed because the statute of limitations on that charge has expired.

Judge James Morrison has already denied a defense request to pin the murder on a former parks worker. That denial is already before the appeals court. Morrison more recently denied a request to blame another man who was previously questioned in the case but never charged. WLUK-TV reports that this denial is the subject of a new appeal.

In both cases, the appeals court has to first decide if it will accept the case before it proceeds. So far, there has been no action.

But the trial calendar is proceeding anyway. Attorneys have started the process of picking a jury. Fifty prospective jurors were eliminated last week due to their responses to written questionnaires.

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