Winona County killer denied by Minnesota Supreme Court

Jack Nissalke
Jack Nissalke

Convicted in 2009 of 1985 murder.

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 2:27 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Winona County murderer gets some bad news on the day before his birthday.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected the petition for post-conviction relief by Jack Willis Nissalke, formerly of Rush City and who will turn 53 on Thanksgiving Day.

Nissalke was convicted of 1st degree murder in the death of Ada Senenfelder. Her body was found on June 6, 1985. Authorities say she was cut and stabbed 33 times and bled to death from a wound to the heart. Her death went unsolved until Nissalke was finally arrested in July 2008.

Prosecutors said Nissalke killed Senenfelder after she told police that a friend of Nissalke’s has sexually assaulted a minor child, leading to that friend’s arrest on a probation violation. Nissalke was accused of pressuring and threatening Senenfelder to recant her story and when that failed to get Nissalke’s friend out of jail, authorities say he killed her.

Nissalke was sentenced in 2009 to life in prison without chance of parole. He filed for post-conviction relief in 2017, claiming there was newly discovered evidence in the case and arguing there were “interests-of-justice” exceptions to the statute of limitations on post-conviction appeals, which had already expired for him.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected all of Nissalke’s arguments and claims without even conducting oral argument. The Court ruled that the evidence Nissalke presented was not new did not justify waiving the statute of limitations.

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