Criminal Justice

Lawyer for Bambi Bembenek Fights for Exoneration Even After Her Client’s Death

Lauri “Bambi” Bembenek died Saturday at the age of 52, but her lawyer is continuing the fight to win a pardon and DNA tests for the former inmate who claimed she had been wrongly accused of murder.

Lawyer Mary Woehrer told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that a pardon had been Bembenek’s dying wish. A former Playboy model and police officer, Bembenek pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the 1981 slaying of Christine Shultz, her husband’s ex-wife, in a deal that allowed Bembenek to get out of prison after a well-publicized escape.

Woehrer says she can still obtain a pardon for Bembenek, who died from health problems that included kidney failure and hepatitis C.

Woehrer is also seeking DNA tests that could exonerate her client, reports. Woehrer told the ABC TV station that she has repeatedly asked Milwaukee County’s new district attorney to run male DNA found at the murder scene in a state databank, but to no avail.

Woehrer wants to compare the DNA with that of two convicted bank robbers who told others that they had been hired to commit the murder. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm sees two problems with the request. He told that the state doesn’t have probable cause to request DNA from the two so-called suspects, and the DNA isn’t sufficient for comparison in the state database.

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