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Jurors to resume deliberations in case involving death of Berit Beck after deadlock

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FOND DU LAC — There were signs Tuesday, June 28th of a hung jury in Fond du Lac County.

Jurors on Tuesday resumed deliberations in trial of a man accused of killing an 18-year-old woman in 1990.

Shortly before 2:00 p.m., FOX6's Myra Sanchick reported from the Fond du Lac County Courthouse that the jury indicated they could not reach a verdict -- and asked the judge for guidance.

Dennis Brantner

Dennis Brantner

62-year-old Dennis Brantner is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Berit Beck. It took more than two decades to arrest and charge a suspect in this case -- and now, a verdict may not happen.

Jurors reconvened Tuesday morning after deliberating Monday afternoon.

After at least eight-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the jury indicated Tuesday afternoon it may not be able to reach a verdict -- asking the judge for instructions regarding this impasse.

"They've certainly been at it a long time.  They've asked for a lot of exhibits. I think it's fair to infer they have been acting in good faith for many hours," Craig Powell, Brantner's attorney said.

Fond du Lac Co. jury

The prosecutor argued that the jury didn't indicate it was impossible to reach a decision -- and that the jury should continue deliberating until a deadlock persists.

"I am reluctant to do nothing at this point and not give them a last opportunity or another opportunity to reach some resolution," Judge Gary Sharpe said.

Around 4:30 p.m., FOX6 News learned the jury would be headed home for the day, and there would be no verdict Tuesday.

Jurors will be back in the courtroom Wednesday morning.

The judge on Tuesday re-read his instructions to the jury, and the jurors agreed to resume deliberations Wednesday.

Berit Beck

Berit Beck

Back on July 17, 1990, Berit Beck made a stop at a store on her way from Sturtevant to Appleton for work. She was never seen alive again.

Beck’s van was found in a Fond du Lac parking lot two days later. Approximately five-and-a-half weeks later, her body was found in rural Fond du Lac County. Autopsy reports concluded that strangulation was likely the cause of death.

Berit Beck

Berit Beck

Berit Beck's body found

Berit Beck's body found

Two years ago, testing found Dennis Brantner's fingerprint DNA on Beck's vehicle.

According to a criminal complaint, Branter’s fingerprints were on a number of items officials found in Beck’s van — including a Burger King cup and a bleach kit. Officials say Beck bought the kit at Walgreens the day she disappeared.  A total of nine of the Racine truck driver's fingerprints were found either in the van or on items in the van.

In 2014, Brantner was questioned and eventually broke down into tears.

Dennis Brantner

Dennis Brantner

"I don't know. I don't know what to say. My problem is I don't remember if I did it. If I did it, I did it. If I did it, I don't know," Brantner said.

The defense says there is other DNA evidence in the van not linked to Brantner.

"These are just items in the van. They don't say anything to you about whether Mr. Brantner intentionally killed Ms. Beck. Nothing," the defense said.

"Follow the evidence. Follow that evidence and what I'm asking you to do is to find Dennis Brantner guilty of first degree intentional homicide," the prosecution said.The prosecution argued Brantner was familiar with the area where Beck was killed, and where her body was dumped -- that he lived not far away.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

5 comments

  • Me. V

    Interesting headline Signs of a hung jury. Does that mean the two male jurors are displaying large bulges in the front of their pants???

  • *pinchingbridgeofnose

    Rrrrriighht “Dennis”… I’m sure there are a million different reasons why the suspect’s DNA would be on 9 different items inside her van. And all of them scream “he’s an innocent man!!” Perhaps he was looking at bleaching his own hair after innocently stumbling upon a seemingly abandoned van and finding a bleaching kit after also innocently rifling through said van. Your anger at the Fond du lac court system is either because you are family/friend of the suspect or your own brush with the Fond du lac system didn’t turn out in your favor. Either way, you are an idiot.

    • Sm

      What authorities are not saying is Mr. Denis Brantner was arrested within a few days of James Eaton, who was accused of killing Amber Gail Creek in Racine Wi. Amber was a frequent runaway who disappeared from Palatine IL. Amber Creek was known for visiting and staying with Brantner in 1997, at Wheaton Estates Trailer Park. She was later found dead by authorities only miles from Brantners home. Mr Brantner has a long history of stalking his ex wife and made prior reference to her, “Remember OJ.” His reference to not remembering anything whatsoever, was a blatant attempt to confuse police. He has a history of petty crimes, stealing small electronic items. He has been in prison and knows how to navigate the system. Besides just ironic or quincidence that two woman within a short span turn up dead. Same MO, found in fields short distances from the roadway. Sounds like a classic sociopathic liar. Anyone who buys the fact that he does not remember anything from the , BratStop, where Berit was far from and was not supposed to be is a joke. Not olay is there a connection of finding an unclothed body and strangulation but stalking, which he has a long history of. His finger prints and ashes below the drivers seat are the smoking gun in the case. The Burger King cup with his prints on?? If he was coherent to drive he would certainly remember tiring her up with her own clothing. He is a sociopathic criminal and as time goes on, authorities are going to find out that he is probably responsible for many many more. My own personal views

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