UPDATE: Jury finds James Prokopovitz guilty of homicide, obstruction and perjury

Sentencing is scheduled for April 30
Published: Feb. 27, 2021 at 8:55 AM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - UPDATE: A jury has found a Brown County man guilty on all four charges, including 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, stemming from a 2013 case.

Shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday, Judge William Atkinson announced the jury found James Prokopovitz, 75, guilty of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and Resisting and Obstructing.

In addition, Prokopovitz was also found guilty of two counts of Perjury before Court.

Prokopovitz is charged with the death of his wife, Victoria, who disappeared and was never found.

Victoria disappeared from the Propokovitz home in a rural area in the town of Pittsfield on April 25, 2013. Prosecutors believe James disposed of her body in a sludge pond he had access to as part of his job loading paper waste onto trucks for a landfill.

Not much emotion could be seen on James’ face as he rubbed his forehead while the verdicts were read. Family members were visibly emotional as Judge Atkinson read the verdict, but were quiet, as he had asked people to keep their emotions to themselves.

Jurors had deliberated for nearly 12 hours Friday, and returned Saturday to deliberate for almost another 12 hours, and were visibly tired by the end of the night.

Judge Atkinson recognized the burden put on the jurors during the case before they were escorted out of the courtroom, away from news cameras.

“I commend you for your staying so late last night, I commend you for coming today (Saturday) and spending so many hours today, and I recognized that it’s a great burden that we threw upon the jurors to ask them to hear the case, weight the evidence, and make a fair and just decision consistent with the facts and the law,” said Judge Atkinson.

Prokopovitz is going to be held without bond until sentencing, which the court scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 30.

Meanwhile, an Action 2 News reporter in the courtroom could see Victoria’s family crying, as well as comforting one another, as the verdicts were read in.

James was escorted out of the Brown County courtroom in handcuffs, and his head was down, looking at the floor while shuffling out. With a mask and glasses on, it was difficult to see any type of emotion he may have been displaying at the time.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Jurors are continuing to deliberate the fate of a Brown County man charged with killing his wife in 2013.

James Prokopovitz, 75, is charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and Resisting or Obstructing, whose wife, Victoria, disappeared and was never found. He’s also charged with Perjury for lying under oath during the investigation.

Victoria disappeared from the Propokovitz home in a rural area in the town of Pittsfield on April 25, 2013. Prosecutors believe James disposed of her body in a sludge pond he had access to as part of his job loading paper waste onto trucks for a landfill.

State law says any video or audio recordings the jury asks to see during deliberations have to be viewed in their entirety in the courtroom.

That took much of Friday’s time, as the jury asked to see two recorded interviews of James - one from 2013 and the other from 2015. Those videos showed James taking investigators on the routes he says he drove looking for his wife after she disappeared from their home.

Before the jury began deliberations, they heard closing arguments from the defense, which argued there is no evidence Prokopovitz killed his wife - and that only Victoria knows what happened.

The lead prosecutor then had the final word for jurors before deliberations began.

Judge William Atkinson instructed the jury of their duties before sending them to deliberations. The judge said a verdict must be reached unanimously.

Jurors are voting on four counts: 1st Degree Intentional Homicide with a domestic abuse modifier, Resisting or Obstructing an Officer, Conspiracy to Commit Perjury Before a Court, and Perjury Before a Court.

After deliberating for about 11 hours on Friday, jurors were excused for the night, and were told to return Saturday morning. The jury has been deliberating since 9:30 a.m. Friday, and wrapped up around 9:30 p.m.

Jurors returned at 8:30 Saturday morning, and are still working into Saturday evening.

Follow Sarah Thomsen on Twitter for live updates during deliberations. Action 2 News will update this story once a verdict is reached.

Action 2 News will livestream the trial when court is in session and, of course, when a verdict is reached. You can watch the livestream at https://www.wbay.com/livestream3/

DAY 8 DEFENSE MAKES CLOSING ARGUMENTS https://www.wbay.com/2021/02/26/defense-to-deliver-closing-arguments-in-missing-woman-murder-trial/

DAY 7 TESTIMONY AND PROSECUTION CLOSING ARGUMENTS: https://www.wbay.com/2021/02/25/more-witnesses-to-take-the-stand-in-missing-woman-murder-trial/

DAY 6 TESTIMONY: https://www.wbay.com/2021/02/24/wednesday-is-day-6-of-testimony-in-missing-woman-murder-trial/

DAY 5 TESTIMONY: https://www.wbay.com/2021/02/23/testimony-continues-tuesday-in-missing-woman-murder-trial/

DAY 4 TESTIMONY: https://www.wbay.com/2021/02/22/testimony-continues-monday-in-missing-woman-murder-trial/

DAY 3 TESTIMONY: https://www.wbay.com/2021/02/17/more-witnesses-to-be-called-on-day-3-of-missing-woman-murder-trial/

DAY 2 TESTIMONY: https://www.wbay.com/2021/02/16/watch-live-more-witness-testimony-set-for-day-2-of-missing-woman-murder-trial/

DAY 1 TESTIMONY AND OPENING STATEMENTS: https://www.wbay.com/2021/02/15/opening-statements-monday-in-brown-county-missing-woman-homicide-trial/

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