Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Spanbauer, Serial Child Killer and Rapist

Offal of the Cesspool

Spanbauer's crimes ranged through five counties and each county prosecutor wanted a piece of him.  Spanbauer's attorney negotiated that the eighteen charges be consolidated at one venue, and the case landed in Outagamie County, and into the lap of Prosecutor Vince Biskupic.

At the Outagamie County courthouse, wanted posters were tacked to the wall, and one of them hanging up at the time of the trial asked for information about the Trudi Jeschke case and volunteered a $10,000 reward for tips that led to the killer's capture.  Another poster called for information regarding the Depies case.  They were only two of other faces of missing women that hung on the wall.

During the proceedings, Biskupic painted Spanbauer as the criminal he was, calling him a ''festering soul'' and a coward and asked him to turn to face the courtroom audience composed of the victim's families stricken with grief.  "He's evil. And at the same time he's pathetic,'' said Biskupic.

Spanbauer said nothing. He was 53 years old but looked slightly older, his hair was gray and thin, the appearance of an oaf that spent 35 years of adulthood in prison.  Spanbauer's attorney, Zoesch, admitted that his client was sane and felt remorse. 

Spanbauer did not age well
Spanbauer did not age well

On Thursday, December 8th, 1994 Spanbauer pleaded no contest to two charges and guilty to the remaining sixteen charges.  He was found guilty for first-degree intentional homicide in the Jones and Eichstedt murders and guilty on all other counts.

The sentencing came on Dec. 20th.  The courtroom was packed to see what fate Spanbauer would receive.  The county courthouse was full of the families of Cora, Ronelle and Trudi, and also the families of Spanbauer's two previous rape victims.  It was standing room only and part of the audience was sent out of the courtroom to watch the verdict on television.

Circuit Judge James Bayorgeon was a far different judge that Judge Bardwell back in 1972.  There was no leniency and there was no speculation of any innate goodness that might be left and coaxed out of Spanbauer in any kind of rehabilitation.  It was the end of the road for him.

Judge Bayorgeon said, ''I don't know from what cesspool in hell you slithered forth and I can't send you back.'' He speculated that it couldn't be possible for the God they believed in "would let a piece of offal like you walk this earth.''

A memorial sits near where Cora was discovered.
A memorial sits near where Cora was discovered.

He took into account the life expectancies of Cora Jones, Ronelle Eichstedt, and Trudi Jeschke to calculate the time he deserved to be in prison and Spanbauer was handed three life terms plus the maximum consecutive sentences on the other crimes, a total of 403 years. The earliest possible time Spanbauer could be a free man would be December 20, 2191.  He would die in prison.