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Siveny attorneys ask judge to split joint trial, sever charges

Feb. 10, 2014
 
D. Siveny
D. Siveny

APPLETON — Defense attorneys for a mother and daughter awaiting trial in a fatal Greenville shooting have asked the judge to hear the cases separately and order a mental evaluation for the sole eyewitness.

Dianna M. Siveny, 54, of Appleton, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and solicitation of substantial battery in the death of her domestic partner Lara Plamann. Her daughter, Kandi M. Siveny, 34, faces the same charges. Both were arrested in February 2013 after acquaintance Rosie Campbell told police she backed out of a murder-for-hire plotto kill Plamann and watched as Kandi Siveny carried out the shooting instead.

The 30-year-old Plamann was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in a shed outside her Greenville home in October 2007.

On Monday, Daniel Kaminsky, Dianna Siveny’s attorney, said he filed a motion to sever the two charges against his client. That would separate the homicide case from the substantial battery case, which stems from a 2006 incident when police said the Sivenys tried to hire a man to beat Plamann with a bat.

Kaminsky said he also wants the two women tried separately, as opposed to the joint trial already scheduled for May 19. Kandi Siveny’s attorney, Daniel Sanders, said he intended to support Kaminsky’s motion. Both attorneys also are asking the judge to order a mental evaluation for Campbell and limit the testimony she can provide during the trial.

As the May trial date looms, Outagamie County Judge Nancy Krueger denied the defense’s request to try the women in a different county, which the attorneys argued was necessary due to the degree of publicity about the case.

During the hearing Monday, District Attorney Carrie Schneider opposed the motion.

“We operate in a vacuum (in court), but my experience is that not everybody reads the newspaper every day,” Schneider said. “Or they might have read about it, but months later, they don’t remember enough for it to be an issue.”

Krueger agreed, adding that she had assessed media coverage of the case before determining the publicity was not inflammatory or reason to believe an impartial jury could not be found.

“An informed jury is not necessarily a biased jury,” Krueger said. “The reporting was not editorial in nature and it was not designed to inflame or provoke the community. Publicity would be expected in any homicide case, but that doesn’t mean it equates to bias.”

The additional motions to sever charges, split the co-defendants and evaluate Campbell will be heard on March 14 and April 8.

— Ariel Cheung: 920-993-1000, ext. 430, or acheung@postcrescent.com; on Twitter @arielfab

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