WATERLOO (WKOW) – A member of the extended family of homicide victim Jesse Faber of Sun Prairie says money given to a prosecution witness in the trial of Faber’s killer was a “thank you,” and not payment-for-perjury as alleged by the killer’s attorney.
Faber’s step-uncle, Kevin Lahti made a deposit to the Dane County jail account of witness Emmanuel Harris within an hour of a jury finding 60-year old Daniel Lieske of Marshall guilty of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of the 21-year-old Faber. Harris testified two days prior to the jury’s Jan. 16, 2018 verdict Lieske told him Faber threatened to expose Lieske’s sexual proposition to Faber.
“(It was) A thank you for risking his well-being in jail, as a ‘nark’ to help Jesse get his justice,” says Dayna Hedtke, Lahti’s girlfriend.
Lieske’s attorney, Dennis Burke maintains Harris told other inmates he lied about what Lieske told him. At Lieske’s sentencing, Burke said the perjury and deposit “compromised” the integrity of the outcome in the Lieske case.
Hedtke concedes Lahti’s deposit to Harris’ account was $80. “We each pulled a few bucks together to thank him,” she says of a Faber family effort.
“Do you really think anyone could accept a measly $80 to lie on the stand?” Hedtke says. Hedtke says no Faber family member had contact with Harris prior to Harris’ testimony.
Lahti declined to comment to 27 News. Several months before Lahti made the deposit, court records show Lahti returned a profanity-laced response with a comment about “locking people up” on a prospective juror questionnaire in Jefferson County. During a court hearing on the questionnaire, Lahti told a judge he had lost faith in the Wisconsin court system. Records show the judge reluctantly excused Lahti from jury duty.
Lieske is serving a life sentence for Faber’s murder. Lieske and his girlfriend, Meichelle Goss, also hid Faber’s body.
Lieske filed a notice of his intent to appeal his conviction.