Man charged with ALHS grad’s murder

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 2010

By Sarah Stultz
Staff writer

The 42-year-old Wisconsin man arrested Oct. 29 in connection with the homicide of Albert Lea High School graduate Ronald D. Lau was charged in Winnebago County Circuit Court in Wisconsin last week with first-degree intentional homicide.

Mark West

Lau’s landlord, Mark D. West, faces life in prison if he is convicted of the charge. He is being held in the Winnebago County jail in Wisconsin on bail of $1 million.

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According to the criminal complaint, West reportedly shot Lau five times with a 12-gauge shotgun at a duplex at 9265 County Highway M in Winchester, Wis.

West lived on the west side of the house, and Lau lived on the east.

West reportedly told police that during the night of Oct. 28 — while Lau was at work — he had anticipated a confrontation the next morning with Lau. He waited with a shotgun inside Lau’s side of the duplex until he came home from work the morning of Oct. 29, according to reports.

When Lau came home from work, West told him that his wife and kids had moved out overnight and that he needed to leave.

Lau had lived there since January.

Reports state West told police Lau threatened him, after which he fired his first shot.

He reportedly continued shooting at Lau until his gun went empty and then as he went to put another shotgun shell into the gun, Lau managed to grab a hold of the barrel of the gun, and the two men began to struggle over it. Lau was reportedly yelling and screaming for help while West struggled to get the gun away from him.

After West pulled the gun from Lau, he reportedly shot Lau in the back of the head execution style, after which he ultimately died.

Later that morning West allegedly dragged Lau’s body with a golf cart through grass 50 to 75 yards west of the home toward a field, according to reports.

He allegedly attempted to burn Lau’s body, but without success, stating he was unable to get Lau’s body into a 55-gallon burn barrel, reports state. He then placed a large rug over the body where it remained near a field until police discovered it.

Afterward, West reportedly also attempted to cover blood stains on the ground with gravel and picked up the spent shell casings and hid them in a mason jar in his bathroom. In addition, he allegedly hid Lau’s truck behind some pine trees in the back of the property and took Lau’s keys, along with money out of his wallet.

“The defendant admitted that he knew at the time what he was doing was wrong, but he kept doing it anyway,” court records state.

Reports state out of the five shots Lau received, the first four shots were not fatal, but the last shot, a blast to the back of the head from only three inches away, was ultimately what killed Lau. The Fond du Lack Medical Examiner’s Office found that the shot to the head was close enough in proximity to leave powder burns on the skin.