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Thomas Niesen Sentenced to Life Imprisonment in 1976 "Cold Case" Homicide


FOND DU LAC - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Fond du Lac County District Attorney Daniel Kaminsky announced that on Friday, November 6, 2009, Thomas Niesen of Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence in the 1976 murder of Kathleen Leichtman.  On September 3, 2009, a Fond du Lac County jury found Niesen guilty on the sole count of First Degree Murder after a nine day trial.  The case was prosecuted by Kaminsky with the assistance of Assistant Attorney General Dennis R. Krueger from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. 


The Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory notified the City of Fond du Lac Police Department in 2008 of a DNA profile match to a sample taken from Miss Leichtman's body after her death in 1976.  Amongst the evidence presented to the jury was the DNA match, statements made by the defendant in 1986 to a former girlfriend, and later statements made in 2009 during a recorded police interview.


"The case provides some closure and sense of justice to the family and the Fond du Lac community after 33 years.  I am grateful for the hard work of all law enforcement involved and to Dennis Krueger of the Attorney General's Office.  I am proud of the prosecution team we formed and all the hard work that went into this conviction,"  Kaminsky commented.


"Today Kathleen Leichtman received some measure of justice," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "I'm pleased our department could assist with the good work of our law enforcement partners in Fond du Lac."