Lawyers: Woman charged in Kaukauna murder will use human trafficking defense

Two arrested in April 2021 for a murder in Kaukauna
Two arrested in April 2021 for a murder in Kaukauna(Outagamie County Jail)
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 4:02 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Lawyers filed court papers indicating they plan to use a human trafficking defense for one of the two people charged in a Kaukauna man’s murder.

Tanya Stammer, 30, is charged with party to the crime of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and party to the crime of Armed Robbery in the death of 37-year-old Brian Porsche in March of 2021.

If the lawyers are successful, the most serious charge against Stammer would be 2nd Degree Intentional Homicide, a crime that carries up to 60 years in prison instead of life.

In paperwork filed Tuesday for jury instructions, Stammer’s attorneys write, “Wisconsin law provides a complete defense to a victim of human trafficking who commits any offense as a result of a human trafficking violation” if the victim felt that they were in danger of great bodily harm or death if they didn’t obey.

Under the law, a person can be considered a victim of human trafficking even if no one was prosecuted for or convicted of trafficking them.

The Wisconsin statute 939.46 cited by Stammer’s attorneys reads:

A threat by a person other than the actor’s co-conspirator which causes the actor reasonably to believe that his or her act is the only means of preventing imminent death or great bodily harm to the actor or another and which causes him or her so to act is a defense to a prosecution for any crime based on that act, except that if the prosecution is for first-degree intentional homicide, the degree of the crime is reduced to 2nd-degree intentional homicide.

A victim of a violation of s. 940.302 (2) [someone knowingly engaging in trafficking] or 948.051 [recruiting, enticing or transporting a child for sex acts] has an affirmative defense for any offense committed as a direct result of the violation of s. 940.302 (2) or 948.051 without regard to whether anyone was prosecuted or convicted for the violation of s. 940.302 (2) or 948.051.

Wisconsin Statute 939.46

Stammer’s defense attorneys say under the Human Trafficking Defense, prosecutors have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not a trafficking victim and must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was not a direct result of a human trafficking violation.

Stammer is scheduled to stand trial in July next year. Her co-defendant, 27-year-old Dontae Payne, faces identical charges of party to the crimes of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and Armed Robbery but is not charged with human trafficking offenses.

As Action 2 News has reported, Porsche was found dead in a chair in his home on March 31, 2021, with a gunshot to the head. A bullet casing was found 3 to 4 feet away.

Surveillance video from a nearby gas station showed Stammer walking from a car parked at the gas station to Stammer’s home and entering through his front door, followed by Payne a minute later.

Police identified the driver of the car, a woman named only “G.L.R.” in the criminal complaint, who said “the girl” went into “the dude’s” house, then the girl texted “the boy’s” phone. When Stammer and Payne came back to the car, Payne was carrying a gun and Stammer had $500 in cash and some keys. G.L.R. said she didn’t know what was going on. They had G.L.R. stop in Milwaukee, where they threw the keys and a phone into the water at Asylum Point Park, then they drove to Milwaukee and got a room, where they told G.L.R. they shot “the dude” in the head.

G.L.R. said Stammer said she pointed the gun at Porsche first. When Porsche swatted at it, Payne took the gun from Stammer and shot him.

Police say Stammer gave them conflicting stories but admitted being at Porsche’s home and said, “I shot him in the head.” She said Porsche had his hands up and was saying he didn’t want this to happen. Stammer said she wanted it to look like a robbery gone bad, so she took a coffee can of money she knew was in Porsche’s cupboard.

Investigators say Payne also gave conflicting stories but said he shot Porsche in self-defense because he was a big guy and trying to get Payne’s gun.

Payne’s Facebook page included a post from March 17 -- two weeks before the murder -- where Stammer commented “No a days Bonnie and Clyde proven facts no one will ever forget us.” Payne replied to her comment, “We gone be legendary in dis game.” Payne had a post on April 3 saying “I got murder on my mind.”

Officers searched G.L.R.’s car and found a handgun partially covered in the rear passenger seat. There was a magazine in the gun and a 9mm cartridge with imprints around the primer reading “9mm luger GFL,” matching the imprint on the shell casing found at the murder scene.

Police divers recovered a cell phone and a protective phone case from the water.