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Suspect in fatal La Crosse Menards’ parking lot fight will wait longer for trial

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A reckless homicide trial which was scheduled for next month in La Crosse is being postponed again. 

Matthew Kinstler is charged with reckless homicide in the death of 79-year-old Russell Paulson, as the result of a fight in May of 2020 in a Menards parking lot. 

Kinstler

Kinstler is accused of striking Paulson, who died days after the incident, during a dispute about whether Paulson parked too close to Kinstler’s vehicle.

The defense argues that Paulson accidentally injured himself while swinging at Kinstler with a large stick. 

New evidence and difficulty in scheduling witnesses to testify, including a medical examiner, have led Judge Elliott Levine to postpone the trial, which was supposed to begin January 10th.  

“I don’t understand why this is happening still, with cases that are set months on out,” Levine said at a pre-trial conference Monday. “That information is gathered moments before trial. And literally, this is moments before trial.”

Kinstler’s trial had been postponed on previous occasions.

The defense also argued the trial was only scheduled to last a week but the prosecution had planned to call almost 50 witnesses. The district attorney’s witness list has been trimmed now to just over 30.

Levine has set another pre-trial hearing for February, and says he’ll set aside two weeks for the eventual trial.          

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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