A Sauk County judge on Thursday found Terry Vollbrecht guilty of second-degree homicide charges in the 1987 death of Angela Hackl, who was found hanging from a tree with gunshot wounds.
Vollbrecht had pleaded no contest to the charge. The plea comes after an appeals court said there was enough evidence to warrant a new trial. Vollbrecht was originally convicted in 1989.
Attorneys with the Wisconsin Innocence Project argued new evidence suggests another man killed Hackl. The state argued new evidence discovered by Vollbrecht's attorneys did not warrant another trial.
But the appeals court agreed that it was compelling and would present the jury with a viable alternative suspect.
Judge Steven G. Bauer on Thursday said he never doubted Vollbrecht’s role in Hackl’s death, even though he was granted a new trial. Bauer said he wanted to honor a jury’s responsibility, and he did what the law says by granting him a new trial.
“I believe the society needs for you to be on supervision,” said Judge Steven Bauer. “We need to make sure that doesn’t happen again, and the only thing I can do is to make sure you are on parole.”
Vollbrecht’s maximum sentence is 25 years.
He’s already served more than 22 years, and has reached his legal mandatory release date under the law existing when he committed his crime, according to a Department of Justice release. He will be immediately paroled for two years and 11 months.