Amy Van Wagner sat expressionless Monday morning, March 13 as jurors in her murder trial watched Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper arrange a chair and desk in front of the jury box near the end of her closing statement.
Opper sat behind the desk and set Stanley Van Wagner's broken laptop, sheathed in a plastic evidence bag, before her then described in detail how Amy Van Wagner shot her husband of more than 20 years three times in May 2015 in the office of their Oconomowoc home and dragged his body to the basement, taking care not to wake the couple's teenage son who was asleep upstairs.
Van Wagner's attorney, John Schiro, in his opening statement reminded jurors that at least one witness said she had seen Stanley alive after that supposedly fateful encounter, and insisted that police and prosecutors decided long ago who was responsible for the killing and simply dismissed any evidence that conflicted with that theory.
"Sometimes cases get too big," he said. "I believe that happened."
The statements came on the ninth day of Van Wagner's murder trial, which was originally scheduled to conclude Friday, March 17. Van Wagner, 53, stands accused of first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.
Who killed Stanley?
Opper began her closing argument by asking the jury "Who killed Stanley Van Wagner?"
"Amy Van Wagner had the means, motive and opportunity," she said, after walking jurors through the state's case one last time.
Money and marriage troubles between the couple "boiled up," Opper added, and "came to a head" on May 15, 2015 – the day Stanley died.
Schiro countered by telling jurors that they were not responsible for solving the mystery of Stanley Van Wagner's murder.
"(Who killed Stanley) is fundamentally the wrong question," he said.
He again emphasized that Amy Van Wagner was acting "normally" on the days after she reportedly murdered her husband and suggested that police ignored evidence that should have cast suspicion on her guilt.
After closing statements from both parties, presiding Judge Ralph Ramirez read the jury instructions about deliberating over the case.
Several friends and relatives of the Van Wagners packed the courtroom gallery to hear the closing arguments. All three of the Van Wagners' children, who testified during the trial, were also in court.
Amy Van Wagner, in street clothes for the proceedings, remained emotionless throughout. She's facing a mandatory life sentence if convicted.