Man charged with first-degree murder in 2004 death of wife in Appleton
By Tom Cherveny
West Central Tribune
BENSON -- A Swift County grand jury has issued indictments for first- and second-degree murder against Andrew Gordon Lemcke, 34, in the shooting of his wife Nichole Riley-Lemcke in their Appleton home on Sept. 12, 2004.
The indictments against Lemcke were issued Monday and are now filed with the Minnesota courts, according to the trial court public access system. The court file lists charges of first-degree murder - premeditated and second-degree murder - with intent not premeditated for an offense alleged to have been committed.
The grand jury had been convened last week and is believed to have heard testimony Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before issuing the indictment on Monday.
The Minnesota Attorney General's Office declined comment on Tuesday. Spokesman Ben Wogsland said there was "nothing of a public nature'' that he could address. Swift County Attorney Robin Finke was in court and could not be reached Tuesday afternoon. Previously, the county attorney said that grand jury proceedings are secret and that his office could not comment in any respect unless or until a defendant is presented with charges in district court.
The Pinal County Sheriff's Office in Florence, Ariz., took Lemcke into custody under a governor's warrant on Nov. 16, according to its Web site.
Lemcke has been living in Florence, Ariz., where he has been employed as a correctional officer with the Corrections Corporation of America facility, according to information obtained during an earlier civil lawsuit filed against him by his late wife's family.
Nichole Riley-Lemcke, 26, a mother of three, was shot in the Appleton home she shared with Andrew Lemcke during the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2004. Lemcke described the shooting as accidental in a letter to the editor published after the incident.
According to Lemcke, his wife had come into the living room where he was sleeping and he said she was brandishing a gun. She fired a shot and shouted out the name of a former boyfriend, he said. He attempted to wrestle the gun from her, they lost their balance and the two fell on the couch with the gun accidentally discharging, according to his account.
He took her to the Appleton hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
A Swift County grand jury had been convened to hear testimony in the case in April 2005 but it did not return a bill of indictment.
Riley-Lemcke's parents, Gary and Kim Riley of Montevideo, have been pressing authorities to file criminal charges ever since. They filed a wrongful death suit against Andrew Lemcke on Sept. 10, 2007. They agreed to place the civil case on hold in an agreement reached last May.
Through a third party, the Rileys have declined comment until the defendant's appearance in district court in Minnesota.
In their wrongful death suit, the Rileys state that their daughter had told them on a number of occasions in the six months prior to her death: "If anything ever happens to me, you know where to look.''
They allege that the couple's marriage had soured, and that their daughter was frustrated by insurance scams she believed her husband to be committing.
The lawsuit also quotes a friend of Nichole's who said he was upset with himself for encouraging her to go home the morning of the shooting. "She had told him that she did not want to go home because 'expletive' was going to happen with Andrew,'' states the lawsuit.