The Case Sarah's Last Walk Kelly Nolan DNA testing

Who Killed Sarah?

Recounting all of the reasons to doubt Penny's guilt would take, well, a book, but here are a few:

Police clearly had "tunnel vision" in building a case against Penny, another common feature in wrongful convictions. Witness David Zoromski, who reported seeing a suspicious man standing by the open passenger door of a parked pickup truck exactly where Sarah's body was later found, was told by a Dane County Sheriff's Deputy, "What you saw is all very interesting, but we have a suspect and it doesn't fit." The man seen by Mr. Zoromski matched the description of the person Penny said she saw Sarah talking to near the Taco Bell at East Washington Avenue and North Oak Street in Madison, after she dropped her off that night.  Police identified him and knew he was a convicted felon with a long history of violence toward women -- but they never followed up on this lead.

The blood alcohol level in Sarah's liver suggests a time of death several hours after Penny was back at her Spring Green home, watching TV.

Sarah's murder -- a bullet to the back of the head -- is consistent with a biker execution, and the extensive impact damage to the bullet may indicate it was a .22 magnum, the sort bikers prefer. Significantly, this type of ammo cannot be fired from the gun, never found, that the prosecution held to be the murder weapon. When a post-conviction effort was made to submit the fired bullet for testing by a Kentucky State Police firearms expert, the lead prosecutor in Penny's case, Dane County Deputy District Attorney Judy Schwaemle, refused to allow it, saying, "Over my dead body."

The prosecution got a major boost from Madison resident James Foseid, who emerged mid-trial claiming he heard Penny at a bar vowing to kill her lover's friend, whom she called "a fat, ugly bitch."

After the trial, a private eye located a woman who looked almost exactly like Penny but who, unlike Penny, frequented this bar.
James Foseid
James Foseid
So, did Penny have a lookalike?  You decide.  Which woman is Penny?

When Mr. Foseid was asked about this several years later, he insisted he could not possibly have been mistaken, since the woman making death threats had said her name was Penny -- a highly pertinent detail he never mentioned at trial. The DA's office used this make-it-up-as-he-goes witness to help put Penny behind bars for the rest of her life.

*  *  *

Click the title to read Phil Brinkman's 2005 series Who killed Sarah? The trial of Penny Brummer in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Bookmark and Share

Please Help!
Please help pay for reinvestigation and defense with your generous donation.

Send a check or money order to:

Penny Brummer Defense Fund
The People's Community Bank
P. O. Box 369
Spring Green, WI  53588

Checks should be made payable to "Penny Brummer Defense Fund".  Thank you!
All persons who donate $25.00 or more will receive a copy of "Who Killed Sarah?" in pdf e-book format.  Send us an e-mail for details.

Who Killed Sarah
MIP Publications

$10,000.00 reward for information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the death of Sarah Gonstead.  Send tips to whokilledsarah@gmail.com

Take Action!
1) Share this story with everyone you know using all of your social networks. Point people to this website. 

2) If you know anything, email whokilledsarah@gmail.com. Do the right thing, and be rewarded for it.

3) Ask DA Ismael Ozanne to reopen the investigation (Dane Co. DA's Office, 215 S Hamilton St., Ste 3000, Madison, WI 53703-3211)

4) Say a prayer.

The woman on the left is Penny; the woman on the right is her lookalike.