WAUSAU – Sentencing has been set for the Wausau man found guilty in the 2010 murder of Stephanie Low, whose death was unsolved for years before her killer was charged.
After deliberating for more than five hours, an Eau Claire County jury on March 24 found Kristopher Torgerson guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and of hiding a corpse. Torgerson, 37, was acquitted of attempted armed robbery charges in the case.
Torgerson’s sentencing, set for June 8, will mark the end of a nearly seven-year wait for justice by friends and family members of Low, who was considered a missing person until October 2013.
Torgerson has a long criminal history tracing back to 2001, when he killed his own father in Alabama, court records show. He is currently serving a prison term on drug trafficking charges unrelated to Low’s murder. Had he been acquitted on all charges related to Low’s death, he would have been released from prison in August.
The jury reached its decision without the opportunity to hear about Torgerson’s violent past, including his father’s murder. Marathon County Judge Greg Huber ruled in May 2016 the information about his father’s stabbing death could unfairly influence the jury.
But Torgerson’s criminal history will be considered at sentencing. Those facts will be included in the presentencing investigation Huber will factor into his sentencing decision. The PSI, conducted by Department of Corrections staff, will also consider factors such as Torgerson’s family life, job history, and psychological health.
Torgerson has had four separate defense attorneys and, for a time, represented himself in the more than two years since he was charged in Low’s death. Though he led police to Low’s body, Torgerson never admitted to police he intentionally killed Low
But Richard Dufour, who acted as a special prosecutor in the case, called nearly 40 witnesses to the stand, six of whom testified that Torgerson admitted the crime in a range of statements made over the years.
First-degree intentional homicide is a felony that carries a mandatory sentence of life in the Wisconsin prison system. But under Wisconsin law, Torgerson could be released on supervision in as few as 20 years.