A Merrill man could spend the rest of his life in prison, after he was convicted Wednesday of killing his estranged wife and dumping her body in a swamp.
It took less than 24 hours for a jury in Lincoln County to find 50-year-old Mark Bucki guilty on all counts in the death of his wife Anita. The 48-year-old woman’s body was found last April, after she had been strangled and stabbed. The defense said there was no physical evidence — but prosecutors said there was plenty of circumstantial evidence that pointed to Bucki’s finances and his wife’s $150,000 life insurance policy. Prosecutors also said there were no defensive wounds on her body, apparently showing that she knew her killer.
Lincoln County district attorney Don Dunphy says they presented a very strong case despite the lack of direct evidence. “It’s not at all unusual in a murder case for there not to be any direct evidence. There’s typically only two people present, and one of them is dead. The other one isn’t going to say ‘this is what happened’. We certainly had enough circumstantial evidence and it’s certainly competent evidence that’s just as good as direct evidence.”
Assistant attorney general Richard Dufour says the state laid out a convincing case to the jury from start to finish. “I certainly hope the closing argument meant something, that’s why we do it. I tried to just put it together, put everything together for the jury so they can follow all the evidence.” Dufour says he wasn’t concerned over the length of deliberations. “I don’t care how long they take, as long as they get it right. That’s what this is all about. We’re about doing justice, not about just getting convictions. It’s not wins and losses, it’s doing justice.”
Bucki will serve at least 30 years on the primary charge of first degree intentional homicide and may get life without parole. A pre-sentence investigation has been ordered in the case and sentenced will be scheduled at a later date.