Lima doctor appeals murder conviction in federal court

Greg Sowinski 419-993-2090 •

December 3, 2013

TOLEDO — After exhausting his appeals in state court, a former doctor convicted of aggravated murder in the 2006 death of his first wife has launched an appeal in federal court.

Mark Wangler filed an appeal in U.S. District Court challenging his 2011 conviction. A jury found him guilty of aggravated murder in the 2006 death of his wife, Kathy Wangler. He is serving a life sentence with the chance for parole after 25 years.

Prosecutors said years of living in a troubled and miserable marriage led Wangler to kill his wife.

In his federal appeal, Wangler argued various grounds that centered on the trial court allowing evidence before the jury he said should have been excluded.

The evidence included journals Wangler kept, writing his most intimate thoughts about the state of his marriage. The journals also included an entry about Satan attacking with car exhaust and Wangler asking the Lord to block the thoughts.

The 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled the trial court should have excluded the journal because it was illegally seized with a search warrant essentially looking for computer records. The appellate court, however, ruled the error was harmless and did not overturn the conviction.

Wangler argues a scientist the prosecution called to testify about soot and evidence of car exhaust in the ductwork of his home should not have been allowed. Not only was the testing performed a few years after his wife’s death, but it had never been accepted or used at trial before.

Wangler tried to have his own expert testify the source of the biomarkers the prosecution’s expert identified as being linked to car exhaust was actually created by candles burning in the house. The trial judge limited that testimony.

His attorneys also argued testimony, including several witnesses who Wangler made statements to, should not have been allowed before the jury.

Wangler’s attorneys also raised an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, saying his trial attorneys did not do a good enough job challenging evidence.