Former Mondovi man sentenced to 10 years in prison for 1990 kill - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Former Mondovi man sentenced to 10 years in prison for 1990 killing

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Fond du Lac County (WBAY) - A former Mondovi man convicted in the 1990 killing of a woman in Fond du Lac County has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Dennis Brantner appeared in Fond du Lac County Court Thursday to be sentenced for a charge of reckless homicide in the death of 18-year-old, Berit Beck.

Ten years in prison is the maximum sentence for 2nd Degree Reckless Homicide. Brantner was initially charged with the more serious crime of intentional homicide, but the charge was reduced under a plea agreement.

Eighteen-year-old Berit Beck disappeared in 1990 while driving to Appleton from her home in Southern Wisconsin. Her van was found in a Fond du Lac parking lot and body was later found in a ditch near Waupun.

An autopsy found Beck died of strangulation.

The case went cold for 25 years until investigators identified evidence they say ties Brantner to the crime. Two fingerprints were found on Berit Beck's van, and one fingerprint was found on an item Berit Beck purchased at a drug store.

Berit Beck and Dennis Brantner did not know each other, and officials say there would be no reason for his fingerprints to be in her van.

Brantner's defense claimed the evidence was circumstantial.

Brantner went on trial for 1st Degree Intentional Homicide in 2016. The case ended in a mistrial when the jury failed to reach a verdict. A juror told Action 2 News one member of the jury would not vote for conviction.

Prosecutors were ready to try Brantner again when both sides agreed to an Alford Plea. An Alford plea happens when the defendant agrees there is enough evidence to persuade a judge or jury to convict, but the defendant maintains his or her innocence.

Supporters of Berit Beck and her family wore red to Thursday's sentencing hearing. Red was Berit's favorite color.

When the plea agreement was reached, Beck's parents released a statement saying they support the outcome and were looking forward to addressing the court at the sentencing.


Posted February 2, 2018
Fond du Lac County (WBAY) - 
A former Mondovi man charged with murdering a woman nearly three decades ago will avoid a second trial.

In front of a packed courtroom, a Fond du Lac County judge accepted Dennis Brantner's Alford plea in the 1990 slaying of Berit Beck.

Both the state and defense agreed to the Alford plea, which happens when a person agrees there is enough evidence to persuade a judge or jury to convict, but the defendant maintains his or her innocence.

Brantner agreed to plead guilty to a charge of 2nd Degree Reckless Homicide in exchange for a 10 year sentence. Brantner was set to stand trial Feb. 12 for the more serious charge of 1st Degree Murder.

"There is no amount of prison time or punishment that can bring 'Beri' back or take away the anguish this family experiences," said District Attorney Eric Toney. "My heart goes out to the family and friends of Berit Beck."

Brantner is accused of killing 18-year-old Berit Beck in July of 1990. Beck disappeared while traveling from Sturtevant to Appleton.

Her body was found in a ditch outside Waupun. An autopsy found Beck died of strangulation.

The case went cold for 25 years until investigators identified evidence they say ties Brantner to the crime. Two fingerprints were found on Berit Beck's van, and one fingerprint was found on an item Berit Beck purchased at a drug store.

Berit Beck and Dennis Brantner did not know each other, and officials say there would be no reason for his fingerprints to be in her van.

Brantner's defense claimed the evidence was circumstantial.

Dennis Brantner's first trial for Beck's murder ended in a hung jury and the court declared a mistrial. The district attorney announced he would re-try Brantner.

Brantner is serving a prison sentence for a separate drug case.

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