Judge Rules in Evidentiary Hearing in Michael Petersen Case

Michael Petersen

Evidence from a murder investigation in Buffalo County can be used in a murder trial in Hall County after a judge's ruling on Monday.

Michael Petersen plead no contest to shooting his ex-wife Nancy outside her rural Kearney home in Buffalo County Court. He's charged with first degree murder in Hall County for the shooting death of attorney Todd Elsbernd in Grand Island, and plead not guilty there. Investigators say both were killed on the same day last November, but Nancy's body was not discovered until the next day.

Court documents show Elsbernd represented Michael in his divorce from Nancy, and Michael later sued Elsbernd.

Hall County Attorney Mark Young, Petersen's attorney, and Judge John Icenogle met in chambers before Monday's hearing.

The prosecution then called Petersen's son, a friend, and investigators from the Buffalo County Sheriff's Department and Grand Island Police Department to testify. Investigators say Petersen repeatedly waived his Miranda rights when being questioned, and told officers he used the same rifle to shoot his ex-wife and former attorney.

Icenogle called the evidence from Nancy Petersen's death "inextricably intertwined" with Elsbernd's and says it can be used in the Hall County trial.

More trial and sentencing dates will be set.