Nissalke sentenced to life, maintains innocence
By John Weiss
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
WINONA -- Jack Nissalke, 43, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the 1985 murder of Ada Senenfelder, but not before he vehemently denied his guilt.
His attorney and family later backed him up, quoting the Bible and the nation's Founding Fathers in attacking his trial and the legal system.
Nissalke, of Winona, was found guilty of first-degree murder Monday by a Fillmore County jury after less than four hours of deliberation. The trial was moved to that county because of pretrial publicity in Winona County. The trial revolved around witnesses' testimony and new DNA evidence.
By the law in place in 1985, Nissalke will have to serve at least 17 years in prison before being eligible for parole. But Fillmore District Court Judge Robert R. Benson gave him credit for 1,038 days already spent in jail on various charges, so Nissalke will serve at least 14 years. Because it's a first-degree murder case, there is an automatic appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
After hearing both from Senenfelder's daughter and Nissalke, Benson said the Winona man did get a fair trial. By law, he had to impose the life sentence. The sentence means that Nissalke moves on to a new phase of his life, he said. "I truly do wish you luck in it," Benson said.
Mary Flak, however, wished Nissalke a life of pain. She is Senenfelder's daughter, and spoke for the family. She said her mother never had a chance to see her children and grandchildren; she "will never know how great a mother and grandmother she could have been," she said before Nissalke's sentencing.
More at link.