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Attorneys set preliminary hearing for Sauk County homicide suspect
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Attorneys set preliminary hearing for Sauk County homicide suspect

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The woman who authorities have said admitted to causing the death of a Westfield man will next appear in court Jan. 16.

Amber Lundgren, 35, of Richland Center, remained silent Monday as she was escorted in shackles to her place at the table alongside attorneys Andrew Martinez and Taylor Hart. The appearance before Sauk County Circuit Judge Patricia Barrett lasted about 10 minutes and consisted of scheduling discussion.

Christopher John Lytle

Lytle

Assistant District Attorney Rick Spoentgen, the prosecutor, coordinated with Martinez and Barrett to schedule a 1 p.m. preliminary hearing Jan. 16 at the Sauk County Courthouse.

Lundgren faces life imprisonment for her charge of first-degree intentional homicide after actions she took in the evening hours of Sept. 21 against 37-year-old Christopher Lytle. She is currently being held in Sauk County Jail on a $500,000 cash bond.

A request by Martinez on Nov. 14 to lower the bond was denied by Barrett after ADA Dennis Ryan argued the cash bond was reasonable given the gravity of the charge. Martinez said the high bail was unnecessary because of Lundgren’s lack of criminal history and cooperation with authorities,

According to the criminal complaint, Lundgren admitted after a series of interviews with authorities to shooting Lytle in the back of the neck. Officers were able to track her down after being notified by the Ho-Chunk casino security department that there was footage of Lytle leaving the building around 7 p.m. the day of his death and getting into a white vehicle. When authorities ran the license plate number, they identified the vehicle as belonging to Lundgren.

When first questioned, Lundgren told authorities she hadn’t seen Lytle in more than a decade and that they had dated briefly. Later in the interview, she admitted to having exchanged messages with him in the weeks before they decided to meet in Sauk County.

According to the criminal complaint, Lundgren said after leaving the casino, she and Lytle drove around with no specific destination ending up in a turnaround area of North Hein Road near Levee Road in the town of Fairfield. Lundgren said that Lytle said spending time with her was “a waste of time” before he got out of the car and pulled her out of the driver side. She said he then pushed her down and tried to get on top of her but she hit him and he fell to his knees facing away from her. When she was able to free herself, Lundgren said she turned back to the car and grabbed a .38-caliber handgun she carries in her purse.

Lundgren told authorities she could see Lytle out of the corner of her eye when she shot in his direction. He fell face down. Through re-enactment, detectives deduced the first shot was fired from about 5 feet away. Lundgren said she leaned out of the vehicle, using a handle for balance, and shot him again.

Lytle’s body was found the next day in the road by a driver who called authorities. A University of Wisconsin pathologist found two projectiles had entered the back of Lytle’s head near his neck and had proven fatal.

Detectives asked if she thought about getting away in the car instead of firing at Lytle, who had his back turned after she’d kicked him to get away. Lundgren said her phone had fallen between the seats of the vehicle. She said she could have driven away, but at the time she was only thinking about defending herself. When Lundgren admitted she shot Lytle twice, she said the second was out of fear.

“I didn’t want him to get back up, I was scared,” Lundgren told the detectives during a second interview at the Sauk County Law Enforcement Center.

Lundgren told authorities they could find the gun at her parents’ home, which is where it was later located. Though initially she said she hadn’t done anything with it, when detectives discovered two cartridges missing from the five-round revolver, Lundgren said she had disposed of them in her family’s dumpster shortly after shooting Lytle.

Follow Bridget on Twitter @cookebridget.

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