ELLSWORTH, Wis. (KMSP) - Kari Milberg is on trial in Pierce County, Wisconsin for homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle for a Dec. 12, 2013 crash that killed her 11-year-old daughter and two young nieces. Prosecutors allege Milberg was sending Facebook messages in the moments before the accident.
Tuesday marked Day 2 of the trial. Testimony focused extensively on Kari Milberg’s iPhone, recovered months after the deadly crash along Wisconsin Highway 35. The phone was apparently ejected out of the SUV, along with Milberg, and investigators didn’t find it until after the winter snow melt.
“The phone appeared intact,” Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Hansen testified. “There was rust around the charging cable, but surprisingly intact for as long as it had been out there.”
Kari Milberg IPhone recovered months after deadly crash. Contained final Facebook chat. Center of testimony today. pic.twitter.com/snwfmY5Mky— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) June 28, 2016
On that phone, investigators found a Facebook message exchange between Milberg and long-time friend Jason McKenzie. The conversation that appears somewhat flirtatious between the pair begins at 3:05 p.m.
Milberg: I will meet u for lunch
McKenzie: U r nervous I just may meet ya
Milberg: I'm nervous
McKenzie: Takes a lot to get me nervous
Milberg: I am 2! Kinda bad!
McKenzie I'm not nervous...
The last message is sent by McKenzie at 3:39 p.m. Prosecutors have argued it was less than 30 seconds later when Milberg lost control and slammed into a box truck. Her 11-year old daughter Lydia and two nieces were killed.
Milberg’s defense team has hinted it could have been Lydia texting and using the phone during the Facebook exchange. They pressed Pierce County Sheriff’s investigator Doug Ducklow on whether they investigated if Lydia would ever use her mother’s phone, or if Lydia’s friends would contact her on Kari’s phone. Ducklow said they hadn’t.