Court denies defense motion to throw out complaint in 1979 murder case

John Bayerl, Dona Bayerl

WAUKESHA — The attorney for a Florida man charged with killing his wife in Wisconsin 40 years ago tried to have a criminal complaint against the defendant dismissed, saying prosecutors didn’t including enough details about how they think the crime occurred.

John Bayerl, 78, appeared in court Monday, March 11, where the defense motion to dismiss/challenging the criminal complaint was denied, with the court finding the state met the burden of proof in the case. The defense then requested cash bail be modified to $25,000. That was also denied by the court.

A preliminary hearing was set for March 22.

Bayerl is charged with first degree murder in the death of his wife Dona, who disappeared from their Milwaukee area home in 1979. Her body has never been found.

The defense motion that was ultimately denied Monday said the complaint doesn’t rely on any new evidence like a confession or DNA match, just some suspicious statements Bayerl has made over the years.

Bayerl has been held in the Waukesha County jail on $500,000 bail since he was arrested at his Fort Myers home in February.

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