Diane Fister was born on August 3 1949. An adorable brown-haired, brown-eyed little girl, she was always an independent child. Fister wanted to join the military after high school but her father refused. Fister promptly eloped with a man for revenge. Soon afterward, Fister divorced her husband. With no roots to offer her stability, Fister moved around the country and eventually, 29-year-old Diane settled in Jefferson, Wisconsin, a picturesque little town. Fister took a job as an office clerk and in a lumber mill. It was here that Fister met carpenter Ruben Borchardt. Soon Fister wed husband
number two, becoming Mrs. Diane Borchardt. For his part, Borchardt had also been married once before but he was tragically widowed when his wife was killed in a car accident in front of their home. He was left with two children. Strangely, Fister claimed Borchardt`s tragedy was the reason she wed her husband, not because she loved him. “I wanted to help. I wasn`t interested romantically in Ruben I was interested in the kids.“ What a Florence Nightingale kind of girl. Of course, her claim that she didn`t love her husband was meant to disprove the DA`s argument that she had been a jealous wife during her divorce from Ruben. Meh. Nobody bought it.
Diane and Ruben soon had their own daughter, named Regan. Diane now had no interest in her stepchildren. She treated them poorly, kind at one minute, cruel the next. Ruben went ahead and purchased a farm and Diane claimed she was “overwhelmed.`` She didn`t want to help run a farm and mother three children at once. Diane told her husband ``I don`t think this will work.`` In 1993 Diane discovered Ruben was having an affair. From her perspective, Ruben and his mistress simply wanted Diane to move out, so they could have “this fairytale life.“
Slightly before dawn on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994, 16-year-old Chuck Borchardt placed an emotionless 9-1-1 call to the Sheriff’s department, calmly telling the dispatcher “there’s blood all over.” Yawn. Chuck brought police to the still-conscious victim, seated in his blood-soaked armchair. Chuck told police he’d heard a loud bang in the house then a sound like a “cow mooing.” Alas, Ruben passed away at the hospital. It was the town’s first homicide in 20 years. Police investigated the Borchardt household. They discovered the shooting had taken place in the basement. Somehow, Ruben had managed to pull himself upstairs to fall into a chair in the living room. Chuck was the only other person in the house that evening. He and his father were both hunters. Naturally Chuck fell under suspicion. The bullets used to kill Ruben matched bullets in Chuck’s bedroom. At the same time, police weren’t convinced the boy had murdered his father, especially after interviewing him.
Police went to speak to Diane and discovered she and Ruben had been involved in an acrimonious divorce. Diane had been in Tomahawk Wisconsin. However police grew suspicious when Diane`s lawyer contacted them, stating she wouldn`t be showing up for an interview. Soon Diane became the sole suspect in the crime. Chuck was again investigated and he stuck to his story that he heard a sound like a `cow mooing.`` Then he added a crucial new detail: Ruben stated “I can`t believe she would do this to me.“ Was it a fabrication. Chuck agreed to be hypnotized but he reiterated the same story. He insisted he didn`t know who the `she“ might be, but then he admitted ``mom might have something to do with it because she`s began acting funny.“ People in the Jefferson community liked Diane. She was a loyal wife and actively involved in the community. Diane was a study hall monitor at her son`s school. She was a good and caring person. But having a conflict with Diane wasn`t a good idea. She could be vicious when she was angry.
Now police learned that when Diane found out about Ruben`s affair with a work colleague,
she stated `I`ll kill him if that`s what`s going on.“ Ruben`s family was delighted when Ruben asked for a divorce. He was not a happily married man and the family was tired of Diane`s moods. Over the following few months however Ruben became fearful, believing Diane might be preparing to hurt him. Ruben won access to Chuck and he was awarded the house. Instead of celebrating, Ruben decided he would give the house to Diane, believing she would indeed kill him. Two weeks later, Ruben was dead. Four months passed. There was no break in the case. Suddenly an anonymous caller contacted police and stated there were three people involved in Ruben`s murder, three local teens to be precise. Douglas Vest, Michael Maldanado, his cousin, and Josh Yanke, all sophomores at the school where Diane volunteered as a study hall monitor, were all suggested as being the killers. The boys made `weak denials“. Police told Vest he knew Vest had been promised $20,000 in cash and some rings if he killed Ruben. Foolishly, Vest replied, “how did you find out about the rings“ Diane was arrested with conspiracy to commit murder. It was Diane who had recruited the gullible teenagers into committing the murder. She was convicted due to the jury`s belief that she was angry about the results of the divorce and Ruben`s affair. Diane however, protested her innocence.
During the interrogation of the boys, police learned Vest was an easy mark. He believed Diane when she told him how unfairly she was being treated. He recruited his two friends to kill Ruben. After entering the Borchardt household, Moldanado and Vest went downstairs to shoot Ruben. Yanke took the phone off the hook. On the stairway, Moldanado and Vest encountered Borchardt. Moldanado shot him twice. By striking deals with the boys, the DA gathered significant evidence against Diane. Faced with life in prison, the boys cooperated. Yanke testified against his friends, receiving an 18-year sentence, with the possibility of parole after 10 year. Vest refused to cut a deal in spite of the offer of 13 and a half years. Instead he went on trial. He was found guilty of first degree intentional homicide and received a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Moldanado was the trigger. Even Moldanado didn`t take a plea. He claimed he was at home asleep when Borchardt was shot. Moldanado was also found guilty of first degree intentional homicide receiving a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 50 years.
During her trial, Diane vainly claimed Ì would never have thought of hiring kids.``Perhaps she would have hired Mafia thugs if she`d had the connections. She claimed she herself was the victim of a conspiracy between police and the DA. Sheesh. Did she really expect the jury to believe that. Diane was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and received life in prison. She had manipulated three gullible, troubled teenagers into murdering a defenseless man. She`d been a bad mother to her stepchildren, then taken away their father. Diane should share a cell with Pamela Smart, the woman who had her real estate salesman husband shot by two teenagers, or Betty Broderick, the socialite who murdered her husband for marrying his mistress. I`m sure they`d all have a lot to talk about. Ann-Margret starred in a movie about Ruben`s murder called Seduced by Murder: The Diane Borchardt Story.