Francine Malindzak, 47
WI, Commonwealth, Florence Co.
September 28, 2004
Francine was stabbed to death by Kevin E. Kirsch, 41, outside his home. Kevin stabbed Francine approximately 12 times causing excessive wounds to her face with the fatal wound to the chest.
Kevin’s neighbor, Dawn Merhalsk, 40, was dating Francine for about one month prior to the murder. Dawn and Kevin lived approximately half a block away, through the woods. Kevin wanted and said he had had an intimate relationship with Dawn, although Dawn denied that they were ever intimate and reported that they were only neighbors and friends.
Francine had been visiting Dawn for a week prior to the murder and had several confrontations with Kevin in which threats were made to both Dawn and Francine that included Kevin saying, “I’m going to kill and cut you up”. Although Dawn did not take the threats seriously, at the insistence of her sister, she reported the threat to police. Dawn and Kevin had phone exchanges in which she taunted him about his jealousy.
On the night of the murder, Kevin called and threatened Dawn. Dawn and Francine went over to Kevin’s house with a 3-foot machete. Kevin was outside having a campfire on his front lawn when they arrived. Dawn, Francine and Kevin exchanged words, Kevin went inside his house, got a knife and began stabbing Francine.
Kevin had an extensive criminal history including multiple Battery charges. Dawn had pleaded guilty/no contest to a Domestic Violence Disorderly Conduct charge eight months prior to the homicide.
Kevin Kirsch was found guilty by a jury of First Degree Reckless Homicide in Francine’s death and he was sentenced to eight years in prison and 12 years of extended supervision.
Dawn Merhalski was also charged with First Degree Reckless Endangering Safety and pled no contest to Second Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety. She was sentenced to two years in prison and three years extended supervision.