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Witness says teen accused in murder bought gun

Witness says teen accused in murder bought gun

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JEFFERSON (AP) - A young friend of three high school students accused of murdering the husband of a teacher's aide told jurors Thursday he drove them to a "poorer neighborhood" in Milwaukee to buy a weapon.

Jefferson County investigators say the youths purchased a sawed-off shotgun with cash provided by Diane Borchardt, 45, who also offered the three boys cars, jewelry and $20,000 from her husband's life insurance.

Ruben Borchardt, 40, was shot to death last April in the family's ranch-style house which she had been ordered to leave as part of divorce proceedings.

Seth Jones, testifying during the murder trial of Douglas Vest Jr., 17, said he did not immediately know why Vest asked him to drive the three youths to Milwaukee.

"We couldn't find the place we were going," he recalled. "We stopped and (Michael Maldonado, 16) used the telephone, a pay phone, and we found our destination."

Jones said it was his first trip to Milwaukee, an hour's drive east of Jefferson. He cannot locate now where they went but knows that it was a "poorer neighborhood," he said.

"I was scared because I was breaking my curfew, and it didn't look like a good place to be at the time," Jones said.

He said he and Joshua Yanke, 17, stayed in the vehicle while Vest or Maldonado went into a house, returning 15 minutes later with a gym bag.

Halfway back to Jefferson, his companions indicated they had picked up a gun, Jones said.

Investigators say the victim's wife provided the boys with a map and instructions on how to sneak into the house where Borchardt slept in the basement.

Mark Witeck, a forensic pathologist, told jurors that Borchardt was shot twice at close range with a shotgun.

Borchardt's teen-age son Chuck, who found his wounded father, says the victim told him, "I can't believe she would do this to me."

Diane Borchardt faces trial March 13 for her husband's death.

Vest was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, as are Diane Borchardt and Maldonado, who waits trial in April.

Yanke pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree intentional homicide and has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.


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