Man pleads guilty to murder of ALHS grad

Published 12:58 pm Monday, May 16, 2011

The 43-year-old Wisconsin man accused of shooting an Albert Lea High School graduate execution style in October pleaded guilty last week to first-degree intentional homicide in Winnebago County Circuit Court in Oshkosh, Wis.

Mark West

Mark D. West, of Winchester, Wis., is scheduled to be sentenced July 21 for the Oct. 29, 2010, murder of Ronald D. Lau.

He faces life in prison; however, prosecutors are recommending West be eligible for parole after 30 years. A pre-sentence investigation has also been ordered.

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According to court documents, West shot Lau five times with a 12-gauge shotgun outside a duplex at 9265 County Highway M in Winchester, Wis.

West, who owned the residence, was Lau’s landlord.

Court records state West had waited with a shotgun inside Lau’s side of the duplex until Lau came home from work that morning. West was planning to tell Lau to move out when a confrontation began.

While Lau received five shots, it was the last shot — one from only three inches away to the back of his head — that ultimately caused his death.

Court records state after West killed Lau, he attempted a cover-up by burning Lau’s body, after first dragging it with a golf cart through grass 50 to 75 yards west of the home toward a field.

After West was unable to get Lau’s body into a 55-gallon burn barrel, he reportedly placed a large rug over the body where it remained near a field until police discovered it.

West remains in custody at the Winnebago County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.