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Couple fought before murder

Couple fought before murder

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JEFFERSON (AP) - A witness testified Wednesday that Diane Borchardt quarreled with her estranged husband two days before he was shot to death in what prosecutors say was a contract murder she solicited.

The testimony by Greg Happ was the latest from a series of prosecution witnesses who have testified that the Borchardts' relationship was quarrelsome.

Borchardt, 46, is accused of offering cars, jewelry and $20,000 from her husband's life insurance to three youths to sneak into her home Easter morning 1994 and kill Ruben Borchardt, 40.

He was gunned down in the basement while Diane Borchardt was out of town with their daughter.

A prosecutor told the court out of the jury's presence Wednesday that Diane Borchardt had whispered in her husband's ear, "You're dead," some time prior to the slaying.

The disclosure prompted Diane Borchardt to declare, "I didn't say that."

In his testimony, Happ said the Borchardts argued at Diane Borchardt's silk-screening shop two days before the killing.

Happ, a former employee of the shop, testified that he saw Diane Borchardt yelling at her husband while trying to shove him out the door of the store, named Mrs. B's.

"She would tell him that he was scum and didn't want to see him," Happ said.

Regen Borchardt, 14, the couple's daughter, testified Monday that her parents had a heated argument and a physical struggle on the afternoon before her father was killed, and that her mother later reported the incident to police.

A family friend testified Wednesday, however, that Diane Borchardt remained interested in saving her marriage even though her husband was seeing another woman and planned on marrying her.

"She wanted to try to save her marriage and suggested they get counseling to try to work this out," Charlene Haas said.

Also testifying Wednesday was Joshua Yanke, 17, one of the teens convicted in the killing. He said co-defendant Douglas Vest, 17, had told him of Diane Borchardt's offer and asked him if he wanted to help.

The testimony came as Jefferson County District Attorney Linda Larson was winding down the state's case against Diane Borchardt. The trial is expected to continue through Memorial Day.

Earlier Wednesday, Judge John Ullsvik refused to excuse a juror whose wife's grandmother died Tuesday. The juror took the witness stand to explain his situation, but Ullsvik declined to dismiss him.

Vest and Yanke are serving prison terms. Michael Maldonado, 16, accused of being the triggerman, is awaiting sentencing.


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