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Holmen man sentenced to 8 years for fight in Menards parking lot, that led to death of on 79 year old



Matthew Kinstler is going to prison for eight years for reckless homicide, in the fatal beating of a 79-year-old man in a Menards parking lot. 


The 52-year-old Holmen man pleaded no contest in March to causing the death of Russell Paulson during an argument over a parking space in May of 2020. 

Kinstler reportedly believed that Paulson hit his car or came close to hitting it, but evidence did not support that claim.

Police say Paulson was hit with his own heavy wooden walking stick by Kinstler. He died of severe head injuries days later. Paulson had been using the 4-foot-long stick after he lost part of his spine to cancer.

Kinstler has had bipolar disorder and other mental health issues, and a long history of alcohol use.  Paulson’s family asked for at least 20 years in prison, the prosecution wanted a 10-year term, and the defense requested jail time for Kinstler as part of probation. 

Judge Elliott Levine said probation is not suitable because of the violent and impulsive attack on Paulson.  Levine says an eight-year term will keep Kinstler away from the community, and 6 more years on extended supervision will help him become rehabilitated. He orders Kinstler to stay out of businesses that sell alcohol or illegal drugs.

The Menards parking lot on Lang Drive, days after the attack on Russell Paulson

Kinstler had just come out of the Menards store on Lang Drive in La Crosse when his girlfriend claimed that Paulson almost hit Kinstler’s car. Paulson’s wife witnessed the attack, and told the court that the memory replays in her head often.

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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  1. Where's the Sanity

    June 4, 2022 at 7:06 am

    It should be an eye for an eye. Bludgeoned and killed an eighty-year-old man because he parked too close to your car? Yep, that’s going to deter the next idiot! Thanks, Judge Worthless.

  2. Steven Weber

    June 22, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    20 years is not enough, judge needs to go.

  3. Cecil Newman III

    March 18, 2023 at 1:47 am

    Theres businesses that sell illegal drugs? That doesn’t seem right, right?

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