A court of appeals on Tuesday upheld a first-degree intentional homicide conviction against Michael David Mattson for the beating death of his girlfriend, Myrna Clemons in 1993.
Mattson, 58, was the main suspect when Clemons was found dead in her Allouez home Feb. 19, 1993. At the time, Mattson was out of jail on Huber work release while serving a 5-month jail sentence for two domestic assaults on Clemons. The case was dismissed due to lack of evidence.
The cold case was reopened by Superior police and Wisconsin Department of Justice in 2004. Two years later, Mattson walked into the Joint Law Enforcement Center and gave a full confession to Superior police.
A jury found Mattson guilty of beating Clemons to death with a piece of firewood and he was sentenced to serve 35 years in prison.
Mattson appealed the decision based on the fact that Douglas County Circuit Court Judge George Glonek allowed the state to present Clemons' preliminary hearing testimony from a substantial battery charge against Mattson stemming from the second domestic assault.
Clemons described the attack in which Mattson threw her to the ground, kicked her with his boots in the back and head, pinned her to the floor, pushed her head to the floor a number of times, placed paper on her chest and lit it on fire, stepped on her neck so that she could not breath and shoved toast into her mouth, telling her to eat it as that is what he had to eat when Clemons had him sent to jail for the first battery. Then he gave her a cigarette suggesting it was her last cigarette and told her he could kick her head off her shoulders if he wanted to.
The court of appeals found that Glonek properly considered all the factors before admitting the testimony. Mattson's acts retaliating against Clemons for sending him to jail after the initial battery show intent and motive for the murder that followed, the court of appeals wrote in its decision. Both the battery and murder were similar in that they involved head injuries and retaliation for sending Mattson to jail. In addition, the court stated, the value of the testimony was not outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.