No evidence of jury tampering; case expected to conclude Friday

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A family friend of Stanley and Amy Van Wagner on Wednesday, March 8, was removed from the courtroom and barred from returning after she spoke to a juror during a lunch break in Amy Van Wagner's murder trial.

However, there's no indication of jury tampering, attorneys for both parties said. The juror will continue to hear the case. The juror told presiding Waukesha County Circuit Judge Ralph Ramirez of the incident before witness testimony began Thursday, March 9.

The juror was anxious enough about the encounter to request a police escort to her car after Ramirez dismissed the jurors Wednesday evening.

That anxiety had passed by the time she returned to court Thursday morning, she said. The juror did not think the incident would have any affect on her impartiality going forward.

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According to court records, the incident happened between noon and 1 p.m. Wednesday. A handful of Amy Van Wagner's friends and relatives have been in the gallery for the duration of the trial, which is in its second week and expected to conclude Friday, March 10.

Van Wagner stands accused of first-degree intentional homicide in the fatal May 2015 shooting of her husband, Stanley.

Prosecutors argue marriage and money trouble boiled over and provoked the killing. Van Wagner's attorneys contend Stanley may have been killed in a gun sale gone wrong, or that associates or relatives of a man convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting the couple's daughter possibly sought revenge for Stanley attacking him in court.

The defense began calling witnesses for its case Thursday morning. They included some of Amy Van Wagner's relatives, a Waukesha County detective and family friends.

Closing arguments are expected Friday.

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