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Mayo loses appeal for fourth time

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Gazette Staff
August 8, 2008
— Convicted murderer Jody Mayo has lost another appeal seeking a new trial.

The ruling Thursday by a state appeals court is the fourth such finding since the Janesville woman was convicted 24 years ago.


Mayo, 45, and Michelle Lambert are serving life sentences for the 1981 murder of Randy Bleiler. He was found beaten and stabbed to death in a McKinley Street apartment where he was babysitting children of a friend.


Mayo has argued that she deserves a new trial because Lambert told numerous people at Taycheedah Correctional Institution that she alone killed Bleiler.


Mayo’s appeal based on that argument was rejected in 2000 by the Fourth District Court of Appeals.


Mayo and her attorney, public defender Bill Schmaal, filed a new appeal in 2007.


One of the reasons for the new appeal, Schmaal explained at the time, is that since 2000, the state Supreme Court issued a new pronouncement about a key aspect of Mayo's argument—that Lambert's statements to different people essentially corroborate each other.


One reason the appellate court gave for rejecting Mayo's appeal in 2000 was that Lambert's statements to staff at the women's prison had to be corroborated by some other, independent source or by new evidence.


But the Supreme Court has since pronounced that it has always been Wisconsin law that the same statements made by one person to several people could corroborate each other, Schmaal said.


Citing the Supreme Court ruling, Mayo and Schmaal launched the new appeal.


Rock County Judge Alan Bates in July 2007 rejected their arguments, writing that the Supreme Court pronouncement on corroboration doesn't apply in Mayo's case because it concerned hearsay evidence, not a recantation.


Schmaal and Mayo disagreed with Bates’ ruling and appealed to the Fourth District Court of Appeals.


The appeals court Thursday ruled against them again.


Schmaal said Thursday he hadn’t had time to absorb the opinion or confer with Mayo regarding the possibility of appealing to the state Supreme Court.



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