By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — A jury came to a verdict on the fate of 59-year-old Mark Kusters, charged with the murder of 42-year-old Richard Flynn on Wednesday afternoon.
Guilty of first-degree reckless homicide.
The verdict came at approximately 2:30 p.m. after over two hours of deliberation. Kusters was found guilty on one of five possible charges, starting at first-degree and second-degree intentional homicide, then to first-degree and second-degree reckless homicide; and lastly, negligent homicide.
While both District Attorney Craig Lambert and Defense Attorney Gary Kryshak declined to comment afterwards, it was clear that this case took an emotional toll on both sides, both of whom painted different pictures of the night of Sept. 15, 2016, where Flynn was shot with a model 835 Mossberg shotgun that would end his life less than two hours later.
“First-degree intentional homicide means he intended to kill,” said Kryshak in his closing statements to the jury. “There is not one iota of evidence that Mark Kusters intended to kill anyone.”
The defense weighed their case on the testimony of Kusters that his wife Trina, who admitted to having an affair with Flynn less than a month prior, scratched her husband and pulled his collar back in an attempt to push away the shotgun during the altercation between Kusters and Flynn. This alleged action would coincidentally trigger it to fire in the direction of Flynn, who was a mere 50 feet away at the time on the Kusters’ property.
However, the prosecution pointed out through various threats made towards Flynn, as well as recorded audio inside a police vehicle after the shooting in which Kusters himself said “Yeah, I f—cking shot his ass” as enough evidence to prove intent to kill.
“He was mad enough to put Flynn as “DEADBOY” in his phone,” said Lambert to the jury during his closing statements. “He told Flynn he was going to kill him — and he did.”
While the jury ultimately agreed with the defense on such a notion, they found Kusters ultimately responsible for the death of Flynn, which still carries life-altering penalties under law. First-degree reckless homicide is a class B felony, meaning Kusters could be sentenced to up to 60 years imprisonment.
Kusters’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23 of next year. For details on the prior two days worth of court proceedings, check out Kusters Homicide Trial Begins Today, Opening Statements and Second Day of Kusters Homicide Trial, Defense and Prosecution Rest