A Fond du Lac County judge has dismissed the jury in the trial of a Kenosha man charged in the 1990 murder of a Sturtevant teenager.
The decision comes after the jury spent 16 hours deliberating the case and was unable to reach a verdict on whether Dennis Brantner killed 18-year-old Berit Beck in the Fond du Lac area more than 26 years ago. On Tuesday, the jury first sent a message to Judge Gary Sharpe that they were deadlocked and unable to reach a verdict. Later Tuesday afternoon, the 10 women and 2 men were sent back into deliberations. Another note came from the jury asking to be dismissed for the day and the judge approved the request.
The 62-year-old Brantner was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, after he was arrested last year.. Beck was traveling to Appleton for a work seminar from her home in Sturtevant when she disappeared. Her van was found several days later in a Fond du Lac parking lot, and then her body was later found in a ditch near Waupun about six weeks later. Brantner’s fingerprints were found inside Beck’s van.
Craig Powel, Brantner’s attorney, said he would have preferred a not guilty verdict, but his client survived the challenge. “Mr. Brantner will fight another day,” he said.
A status conference will be scheduled. District Attorney Eric Toney said whether they have another trial for Dennis Brantner remains to be seen, but all interested parties will have a say on it. “We’re keeping all of the options open at this time,” he said.
Brantner remains jailed on a $1 million cash bond.
Affiliates KFIZ and WTAQ contributed to this report.