Judge confirms decision in Burch murder case

Burch pic.jpg

GREEN BAY (WLUK) - A judge confirmed a previous decision not to allow evidence of Douglass Detrie's interactions with other women at the trial of George Burch, who is accused of killing Detrie's girlfriend, Nicole VanderHeyden.

Jury selection in Burch's trial is scheduled to start Friday morning.

As part of his defense, Burch's defense is planning to present an alternate scenario: that Detrie discovered Burch with VanderHeyden, killed her, and forced Burch to help dispose of the body.

To bolster their argument, Burch's attorneys want to introduce evidence of Detrie's interactions with other women, which they claim may show a pattern of abuse. Judge John Zakowski rejected the request last fall, but the defense asked for it to be reconsidered due to a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision.

In a 14-page decision issued Wednesday, Judge Zakowski reaffirmed the previous ruling.

"The problem, however, is that any probative value of the evidence of these events is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to the State and the risk of confusing the issues and/or misleading the jury... For all of these reasons, the Court’s decision to exclude the proffered evidence of other acts allegedly committed by Detrie remains unchanged," he wrote.

Because the evidence is not being admitted, FOX 11 is not detailing the specific allegations, and is not posting the full decision.

The parties are still awaiting a decision by Judge Zakowski if cell phone tracking data from Burch's phone will be allowed at trial. Prosecutors say it places Burch at the bar where VanderHeyden was, at her home, and in the farm field where her body was found. The defense contends his Fourth Amendment rights were violated in the way the Brown County Sheriff's Dept. obtained the information from Green Bay police.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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