81-year-old woman gets life sentence in Wisconsin cold case murder

The 81-year-old woman convicted in a decades-old love triangle slaying of another woman in St. Croix Falls, Wis. was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday.

Mary Josephine Bailey will be eligible for parole after 20 years under the sentencing terms.

A jury convicted Bailey on an intentional homicide charge in May for the death of Yvonne Menke in 1985. Authorities said both Bailey, then Mary Jo Lunsmann, and Menke were involved with the same man, Jack Owen.

Mary Josephine Bailey (left) and victim Yvonne Menke (right) (FOX 9)

On the morning of Dec. 12, 1985, investigators said Bailey shot Menke three times with a .22 caliber gun as she descended the stairs of her apartment building to go to work.

Bailey was long suspected in the killing – and was even interviewed by police a day after the murder – but wasn't charged with the death until last year. Investigators took a second look at the case starting in 2021, re-interviewing Bailey twice over the next two years.

Ultimately, Bailey was charged in November 2023 after the review of the evidence.