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Wittkop to undergo mental evaluation

A competency evaluation will be held to determine if murder suspect Lawrence W. Wittkop is fit to stand trial. Wittkop, 23, has been charged with the murder of his wife, Nicole Wittkop. Her body was found on Aug. 29 near the entrance to Lake Supe...

A competency evaluation will be held to determine if murder suspect Lawrence W. Wittkop is fit to stand trial.
Wittkop, 23, has been charged with the murder of his wife, Nicole Wittkop. Her body was found on Aug. 29 near the entrance to Lake Superior Community College. The report from the medical examiner indicates she had been beaten and strangled.
Wittkop led police to the scene and was arrested after authorities located the body. Police believe Nicole had been killed the previous day, possibly in the early afternoon near a busy intersection. Early that morning, she called into work saying she would not be in due to an emergency.
Some possible witnesses have been interviewed, and police received numerous calls about the crime.
The couple lived in West Duluth, and Nicole was an employee of the Budgeteer News. They had recent marital difficulties, and she was planning on leaving.
On Aug. 31, Wittkop was formally charged with second degree murder. His bail was set at $400,000. An omnibus hearing scheduled for Monday has been postponed.
The evaluation will be done at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter. It will take an undetermined amount of time.
Nicole, 23, was the first of three murders to hit south St. Louis County in just over a week. On Sept. 3, the body of Trina Louise Langenbrunner, 33, was found near Brookston, where she was hitchhiking. The Cloquet resident, a mother of three, had been stabbed to death.
No arrests have been made, and the investigation continues. A $20,000 reward has been offered anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for her murder.
On Sept. 5, the body of Jilmarie Hann VonHennchen, 37, was found by employees at the Viking Motel. She had been beaten and strangled. Douglas Michael Edling, 38, has been arrested and charged with her murder. He is expected to make his next court appearance in early November.

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