In homicide trial of man claiming self-defense, medical examiner says victim first shot from behind

January 15, 2019

The man accused of shooting a 21-year-old Sun Prairie man to death last year shot the victim once in the back of the head and twice in the back, a Dane County medical examiner testified Monday.

Dr. Agnieszka Rogalska, Dane County deputy chief medical examiner, testifying Monday at the first-degree intentional homicide trial of Daniel Lieske, said Jesse Faber was shot at least five times. The first three wounds were almost certainly the two to his back and the one behind his left ear, she said.

Rogalska’s testimony came as Lieske’s attorneys prepare to try to convince a jury that Lieske shot Faber in self-defense on Jan. 16, 2018, at Lieske’s rural Marshall home.

Faber also had gunshot wounds to his right flank and left hand, Rogalska said. A bullet also might have grazed his right hand to make a sixth wound.

Although the right flank wound, which pierced Faber’s liver and kidney, could have been fatal in any other case, Rogalska said it’s highly unlikely it was fatal to Faber because that wound most likely came when he was already dead or nearly dead, following the shots to his back and head.

“The outlier is really the right flank,” Rogalska said. “There’s very little evidence that (Faber) had a heartbeat at that point.”

If Faber had been shot first in the right flank, there would be more evidence of bleeding around the wound and affected organs. Most of the internal bleeding came from the three shots that entered Faber from behind, Rogalska said.

The shots to Faber’s back were fired from a distance of less than 1 inch to up to 3 feet, Rogalska said.

The two shots to Faber’s back went through his lungs, chest and ribs, striking arteries and major blood vessels in the lung area, she said.

But Rogalska said she couldn’t determine what position Faber’s body was in when he was shot or the movements of Faber and his alleged killer, only where the bullets entered and exited.

Self-defense claim

Lieske’s lawyers, Dennis Burke and Richard Coad, have said they plan to show that Lieske shot Faber in self-defense.

During his opening statement last week, Burke said Lieske shot Faber after he attacked Lieske in an apartment bathroom adjoining his Marshall home before hiding his body — wrapped in an area rug, duct tape and black garbage bags — in a storage locker about 30 miles away in Rio.

It’s unclear if Lieske will testify in his own defense.

Lieske and his longtime girlfriend, Meichelle Goss, 52, have already pleaded guilty to hiding a corpse to conceal a crime.

Goss testified last week that Lieske had been drinking and that she and Lieske used cocaine while Faber was next door with her son and his friends.

When Goss drove most of her son’s friends home, she said, Faber stayed behind and drank with Lieske.

Later, she testified, she heard a commotion in the next door unit, went over and saw Lieske pointing a gun at Faber.

She left to go back to her bedroom, she said, then heard several gunshots and returned to see a mortally wounded Faber on the floor, adding that Lieske asked her to help him move Faber’s body.

Also on Monday, Emmanuel Harris, a 22-year-old Dane County Jail inmate, testified that Lieske confessed to him that he shot Faber and planned to say he did it in self-defense.

Harris said Lieske told him that he had offered Faber money for sex, but that Faber rebuffed him. Harris said Lieske told him he “just snapped and blacked out” before shooting Faber after Faber said he would tell others about Lieske’s advances.

Harris testified that Lieske told him he would lie and say Faber threatened him with a knife to set up a self-defense claim.

Dane County investigators who testified Monday said no knives were found with Faber’s body.

But Burke said Harris — with a criminal record that includes convictions for battery, theft, fraud, driving a stolen vehicle and being a felon in possession of a firearm — was a dishonest person testifying against Lieske to curry favor with prosecutors.

“You’re willing to say just about anything about Mr. Lieske to get less time,” he said to Harris, who still has 10 open criminal cases in Dane County for charges that include burglary, theft, robbery and felony battery.

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