Cops Say Bembenek’s Resume Lies Tarnish Her Cult Hero Status
WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) _ Police vexed at the folk-hero following of Lawrencia ″Bambi″ Bembenek say the convicted killer showed her true colors when she created a phony identity after her prison escape.
Ms. Bembenek, a 32-year-old former model, Milwaukee police officer and Playboy club waitress, was captured earlier this month in Canada, months after breaking out of a Wisconsin prison. She was serving a life sentence for murder.
She had faced a deportation hearing today in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she was captured Oct. 17. But the hearing was delayed for a week this morning after he lawyers requested more time to prepare their response to illegal immigration charges and also sought to bar news media from the hearing.
″There is a tradition in Canada that we try people in court; we don’t try them in the media,″ said David Dubinski, a lawyer for Ms. Bembenek.
Adjudicator Carmen DeCarlo delayed a decision on media access until next week and told Ms. Bembenek’s lawyers they’ll need to present arguments then if they need further delays for the deportation hearing.
Ms. Bembenek had claimed she was framed for the killing, and supporters who argued she deserved a new trial cheered her escape in July and took to wearing ″Run, Bambi, Run″ T-shirts.
But authorities said Wednesday a bogus resume she used to find work in Canada shows her capacity for deceit.
″It certainly does take a little of the luster off the Bembenek legend,″ said Fond du Lac County sheriff’s Lt. Ed Sheppard.
The resume identified her as Jennifer Voelkel Gazanna, born Jan. 7, 1961. A child named Jennifer Lee Voelkel - born the same date - died at one month and was buried in a Milwaukee cemetery. Police said Ms. Bembenek may have obtained the dead child’s birth certificate and used it to establish a false identity.
The resume said she was a prison social worker for nine years and served as a member of the governor’s advisory council on AIDS. It also contained a bogus educational background.
Ms. Bembenek, 32, was fired from the Milwaukee police force for lying on a report. Prosecutors convinced a jury she killed her husband’s ex-wife in 1981 because she disliked the amount of alimony the woman received.
After a tip from someone who recognized her from the TV show ″America’s Most Wanted,″ she was captured in Thunder Bay, where she was working as a waitress. Her fiance, Dominic Gugliatto, 35, also was arrested.
A private detective trying to help Ms. Bembenek get a new trial said authorities were desperately trying to besmirch her claims of innocence.
No one who escaped from prison would tell the truth on a resume, Ira Robins said. ″That is absolutely ridiculous.″
The Milwaukee investigator said he has evidence that Ms. Bembenek was framed because she had knowledge of police corruption, but he complained that few are willing to listen.
″There has been no investigation of the corruption I have pointed out,″ he said. ″I am trying to get a woman some justice.″