Matthew Neumann is led into a courtroom at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. He was convicted Dec. 6 of killing two former employees and burning their remains. (Photo: C.T. Kruger/Now News Group)
After four days of testimony and less than three hours of jury deliberation, former Franklin business owner Matthew Neumann was convicted Friday of killing his two employees and burning their remains.
Neumann, 44, was convicted of two counts each of first-degree reckless homicide and hiding a corpse, setting him up for a maximum prison sentence of 155 years. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31.
“He almost got away with it – if he hadn’t made a couple stupid mistakes, if he had another week,” said Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Michaele Schindhelm during his closing argument.
Robert C. Hajduk, 40, of Racine and Richard L. Conklin, 35, of Milwaukee were reported missing between Jan. 2 and 3, not long after spending time with Neumann or stopping by the commercial cleaning business he owned, Spot Free Cleaning, at 8581 S. 27th St., Franklin, according to police.
Days after their disappearance, the badly damaged human remains of two people were found in a fire pit on hunting property that Neumann leased in Walworth County. One set of the remains has been identified as Hajduk, while the second set — thought to belong to Conklin — requires additional testing that may take more than a year to complete, according to Franklin police.
Over the course of the trial, Schindhelm acknowledged several times that police and prosecutors had no direct evidence tying Neumann to the men’s deaths. But they did have mountains of circumstantial evidence pointing to him.
Neumann’s defense offered little in the way of a counternarrative, and his own attorney, Michael Steinle, even admitted during his closing argument that aspects of the case troubled him. He even acknowledged that “it could be probable” his client is guilty.
Nevertheless, he argued the evidence did not rise to proof beyond a reasonable doubt and attacked the credibility of several key witnesses, including Neumann’s wife, who said she saw one of the bodies in her husband’s truck the morning of Jan. 2. He suggested she was financially motivated to put her husband behind bars.
Tammy Neumann testified that around 5 a.m. Jan. 2, she was awakened by Matthew Neumann fiddling with a gun in their bedroom after he and Conklin had spent the night drinking together. Later, as she was leaving the house with her daughter, she said she saw a dead body in her husband’s pickup truck parked outside their house.
Tammy Neumann said her husband pointed a gun at her and told her not to tell anyone. Their daughter, Ashley Neumann, also testified that she feared for her life after seeing the body and told police she overheard her father say he killed the man over a pack of cigarettes, according to the criminal complaint.
It’s thought that Neumann shot Conklin while the two were at Spot Free Cleaning early Jan. 2. Carrie Lieggett, who lived across the street from the business in January, testified that she heard three gunshots that night.
Prosecutors are uncertain when, how and where Hajduk was killed, but Schindhelm posited that on Jan. 3, he became aware of Conklin’s murder after visiting Spot Free Cleaning, so Neumann killed him, too.
The remains were found a week later on hunting property Neumann leases in Walworth County. Traces of the victims’ DNA were found in Neumann’s truck, trailer and driveway, Schindhelm said.
Contact Elliot Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 414-704-8958. Follow him on Twitter @elliothughes12.
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RBC Capital thinks that there is a quickly growing but overlooked part of Amazon's business – namely, Amazon Business – with revenue that will exceed more than $30 billion in just a few years.
CONSTELLATION BRANDS, INC.
"We believe Amazon Business has largely been ignored by investors," RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney said in a note on Friday.
The unit is Amazon's business-to-business, or B2B, marketplace, serving a variety of customers from large companies to hospitals, as well as schools and colleges. Amazon Business has a wide variety of offerings, as customer options range from specific industrial products to as broad as office supplies.
"With GMV [gross merchandise volume] over $10B and growing faster than Amazon's Retail and AWS segments, it continues to gain market share while also triggering seismic changes to ecommerce business models across the industrial distributor landscape, with Underperform-rated Grainger still in the cross hairs," Mahaney said.
RBC estimates Amazon's business will see revenue reach $31 billion by 2023, as sales quintuple to $52 billion over the same period.
Amazon launched the unit in 2015, with Mahaney noting that it hit $1 billion in sales its first year. RBC noted Amazon Business last year reached over 2 million customers around the globe, as well as more than 200,000 sellers offering hundreds of millions of products.
Amazon Business has also outstripped its retail e-commerce business and even cloud unit Amazon Web Services (AWS) in growth, RBC said. Mahaney estimated that Amazon Business' 115% compound annual growth rate over three years was faster than both the retail business, at 28%, as well as AWS, at 48%.
"We believe Amazon is well positioned to gain market share," Mahaney added.
RBC estimates the total addressable B2B market is $67 trillion, nearly three times the size of the global retail market. The firm says the B2B world is "inefficiently served," citing in part a relatively low amount of online sales.
"Amazon has the right competencies—substantial competences include logistics, large scale, loyal customer base, and technology infrastructure," Mahaney said.
RBC has an outperform rating on Amazon's stock.© Provided by CNBC
The role of Presidents Cup captain typically is reserved for players in the twilight of their careers.
Nothing is typical about Tiger Woods.
Six months after he was appointed U.S. captain, he won the Tour Championship and nearly captured the FedEx Cup. While picking out team uniforms and choosing vice captains, Woods won the Masters. As he was contemplating which four players to take as captain’s picks, he won in Japan for his record-tying 82nd career PGA Tour victory.
Tiger Woods (Photo: David J. Phillip, AP)
Captain or player for the Dec. 12-15 matches at Royal Melbourne in Australia?
“It’s a lot of moving parts, but something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Woods said.
He is the first playing captain since Hale Irwin in the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994, and the first captain to pick himself. Irwin won at Hilton Head that year at age 49 and qualified for the team. Woods won twice this year and is No. 7 in the world, filling out a U.S. team with all 12 players among the top 25 in the world ranking.
And with that, the long odds facing the International team got a little bit longer.
Not even the Ryder Cup with all its history started out so one-sided. The International team, cobbled together with players from countries outside Europe, has managed to only one victory in the 25-year history of this event. It was such a blowout last time at Liberty National that he Americans were one match away from ending it on Saturday.
Leading the way for the International team is Ernie Els, who has finished runner-up to Woods more than any other player.
The Big Easy cares more about opportunity than history.
“People are not giving us much of a chance,” Els said. “I mean, the whole of the U.S. team is in the top 20. We have one player in the top 20, and that’s just the way it is. But somebody is going to win 15 1/2 points. And at the end of the day, that’s our aim – try and get 15 1/2 points somehow off of this unbelievably talented team.”
In his favor is the course and the home crowd.
Royal Melbourne is where the International team registered its only victory in 1998, a beating so thorough that Nick Price won the decisive point in the second of 12 singles matches. That was as good as it would get.
The Americans won big two years later and have been winning ever since except in 2003 in South Africa. That was declared a tie after Woods and Els went toe-to-toe for three sudden-death playoff holes until it was too dark to continue.
Woods won the clinching point at Royal Melbourne in 2011, but it was that one loss – Woods doesn’t forget easily – that he keeps bringing up to his heavily favored team.
“I think it helps having Tiger as a captain, who’s been on a team that has lost at Royal Melbourne,” Gary Woodland said. “He’s talked a lot about that to us. We have five rookies trying to make a name for ourselves, too. And we’re playing for Tiger Woods, which is pretty cool.”
Not only are they playing for Woods, they are playing with him.
Woods was 149th in the world when he was appointed captain, with four back surgeries since his last victory, which some thought might have been his last. Now he is among the top 10 in the world, the Masters champion, a winner in the last PGA Tour event he played.
Woods first carried a radio and rode in a cart as an assistant captain at the 2016 Ryder Cup, and he was an assistant at the last Presidents Cup. His text messages on potential pairings and strategy are relentless. Players who have been around him say he prepares as hard as he ever did for a major.
“I know that he does not want to go down there and not come back without the cup,” said Rickie Fowler, the newest addition to the team. “Tiger means business. He’s not overlooking anything. And I think over the last few years, people have begun to see how much team events do mean to Tiger.”
Fowler was chosen to replace Brooks Koepka, the No. 1 player in the world who is still recovering from a knee injury he aggravated in South Korea in October. Such is the strength of the U.S. team that it dipped all the way down to No. 22 in the world to fill in for Koepka.
The International team, which has only two players with a better world ranking than Fowler, doesn’t have that luxury.
It has seven players who have experienced the Presidents Cup only from in front of a television, tying a record for most rookies. The team Els assembled comes from a record nine countries, four of which have never been represented in these matches – Mexico (Abraham Ancer), Chile (Joaquin Niemann), Taiwan (C.T. Pan) and China (Haotong Li).
Only three of their players have won tournaments this year around the world. Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen are the only major champions.
The International team, especially after the beating it took last time, has rarely faced such long odds – or had this big of a chip on its shoulder. They are tired of losing. Scott has played in every Presidents Cup since 2003 and has never been part of the winning side.
Facing Woods as the captain and as a player makes the International challenge even greater.
“He’s the ultimate competitor,” Scott said. “There’s no way he’s not doing everything possible coming down here as a captain and a player to win this event. There’s no way he wants to be the captain to a losing US team. So, it’s going to be very, very difficult but we have to believe we can beat him, because I believe we can.
“It would be great to stick it to Tiger and the entire American team.”Presidents Cup
When: Dec. 12-15
Where: Royal Melbourne Golf Club (7,055 yards, par 71)
Captains: Tiger Woods (U.S.) and Ernie Els (International)
Series: United States leads, 10-1-1
Format: Nine matches of foursomes, nine matches of fourballs, 12 singles matches. Each is worth one point.
TV: All on Golf Channel – Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. to midnight; Thursday, 7 p.m. to midnight; Friday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 6 p.m. to midnight.
U.S. team: Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland, Tiger Woods.
International team: Byeong Hun An, Abraham Ancer, Adam Hadwin, Sungjae Im, Marc Leishman, Haotong Li, Hideki Matsuyama, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen, C.T. Pan, Adam Scott, Cameron Smith.