(Updated 12:42 p.m.) A man who brutally killed a wealthy Brookfield businessman and the woman accused of brow-beating him into doing it were sentenced Tuesday to prison.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Patrick Haughney ordered Lynn M. Hajny, 49, of New Berlin, to serve the maximum 15 years nine months in prison, followed by five years three months on extended supervision.
He sentenced Tommy V. Douyette, 43, of Milwaukee, to a 30-year prison term — 10 years less than the maximum — followed by the maximum 20 years on extended supervision.
Authorities say Douyette is the one who fatally beat and strangled John Aegerter, 63, in Aegerter's Brookfield garage late on the night of June 21, 2011. But Douyette told police he was badgered and manipulated into it by Lynn Hajny, the married woman he had dated for 14 years and whom he said hatched a plot to kill and dismemeber Aegerter to steal his radio communications wealth.
Haughney said it was an easier decision to impose the maximum possible sentence on Hajny due to her role in the crime and the fact that Douyette cooperated with the court and investigators even without a plea deal present.
“On Ms. Hajny’s part, this was premeditated, cold-blooded murder,” Haughney said.
A conspiracy theory
Months after his arrest, Douyette gave Brookfield police a lengthy two-day interview, saying Hajny and a friend of hers who worked as a Wauwatosa police clerk plotted to kill Aegerter. Aegerter owned Air Page Corp. in Brookfield, other satellite radio companies and dozens of radio transmission towers and his assets were worth millions, prosecutors said. Hajny's husband Albert worked for Aegerter but was not involved in his death, police said. The police clerk, Mark Finken, committed suicide amid the investigation but said in a suicide note that he was not involved.
Douyette said Hajny and Finken planned to dismember and dispose of Aegerter's body and pose as the eccentric businessman while running his businesses from Arizona, slowing liquidating his assets for their own use.
The day Douyette was arrested, he told police only that he and Hajny went to Aegerter's house to confront him about money Lynn Hajny said he owed to her husband. Douyette said at that time that he fatally beat Aegerter during the confrontation over money.
Brookfield police were called on June 22, 2011 to check on the wellbeing of the owner of radio business Air Page Corp. when he failed to show up for work. Officers found Aegerter dead in his home garage in the 14300 block of Golf Parkway. He was lying face down with his ankles tied in electrical tape, his face wrapped in duct tape and his head covered with several plastic bags with a white electrical cord around his neck.
Hours later, officers were able to arrest Hajny and Douyette at Hajny's cousin's house in Slinger where the two had fled after learning the police had found Aegerter before they were able to return to the house and remove his body.
Prosecutors gave better plea deal to Hajny
Hajny and Douyette each were originally charged with party to the crime of first-degree intentional homicide. But in January, Douyette pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree reckless homicide, which carried a maximum possible sentence of 40 years in prison, followed by 20 years on extended supervision.
Hajny canceled her planned trial last week, entering an Alford guilty plea to an even more reduced charge of felony murder, which carried a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison — more than half what Douyette faced. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes there is sufficient evidence to convict and wishes to accept a plea deal.
Assistant Waukesha County District Attorney Timothy said his office offered Hajny the plea deal due to concerns about relying on the testimony of Douyette who recently told jail inmates conflicting stories about the murder. As part of his deal, Douyette was required to testify in Hajny's trial.
Prosecutors and Douyette's attorney Jonathan Smith contended the murder plot came from Hanjy and Finken, as part of a plan to assume Aegerter’s life so they could get money.
Aegerter was a recluse with no immediate family, and attorneys said Finken and Hajny developed different plans to kill him, including one where they would lure him to Las Vegas where he would be killed, or do the deed during the long Fourth of July weekend to give them more time to cover up the scene.
Brookfield investigators found evidence on Finken's police and personal computers that he looked up information on Aegerter, emailed with Hajny about the plan and even held meetings at a union hall in Butler to discuss the plan.
Murder might have been 'dry run' gone awry
On the night of the murder, Douyette and Hajny met at Kip’s Inn tavern in West Allis, where they drank and Hajny talked with Aegerter on the phone and planned to meet him at his home. Westphal said the night appeared to be a “dry run” to commit the conspiracy, but it ended up happening that night.
Hajny called Finken on the phone shortly afterward and she told Douyette that Finken “was pissed.” An hour after the murder is still unaccounted for by both Hajny and Douyette, and there is no idea if Finken ever came to the residence or helped in any other way as he committed suicide after investigators began to question him about the murder. He said in his suicide note that he was not involved but couldn't afford to fight authorities and wanted his money to go instead to his daughter.
Hajny was the common factor between Douyette and Finken, and Westphal said Douyette was her “protector” and she manipulated him into committing the murder. Douyette told investigators he attacked Aegerter after Hajny yelled to him that Aegerter was hitting her.
“It fits right in with a manipulative personality who pulled the trigger on the gun, using Mr. Douyette as the gun,” Westphal said. “(S)he manipulated him.”
Smith echoed the idea it was Hajny who wanted to commit the plot, saying she was the one who had a notebook detailing ideas used in the murder and who talked with Finken about a “deluxe life” she felt she deserved.
Meanwhile, Douyette was a normal guy who only loved Hajny and wanted her to get divorced, Smith said, but she claimed to be waiting for an inheritance before she would do so.
Killer described as unremarkable homebody
“It’s remarkable how unremarkable his life is,” Smith said of Douyette. “Here’s a guy who’s 43, he’s single, he’s got no children, he went through 12th grade but didn’t graduate at Wauwatosa East, then he went to work. He was a homebody, he liked to read, he just lived a life like any other… and now he finds himself in a courtroom about to be sentenced on a homicide charge.”
Douyette gave a short, tearful remark to Haughney before being sentenced for the crime. Hajny told the judge she is a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and severe depression, who lost her confidence and was subjected to abusive men. Hajny said she tried to get Douyette off of drugs and clean up his life, but said she had not dated him in years because she had gotten back together with her husband.
Hajny told the court she had a life where she socialized with engineers, business owners and professional comedians and she has now lost that life.
She also asked Haughney to look for leniency in her sentence because she felt it would be better for her to be constructive instead of going to prison. One idea she floated was her plan to create and run a scholarship program in Aegerter’s name at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
Hajny called Aegerter “a fellow innocent being” and he didn’t deserve such a “deplorable” action against him.
'I'm not a heartless monster'
“I’m not a heartless monster, I’m a lover of life, a helper of people,” Hajny said. “I carry spiders outside to the bushes in a big McDonald’s cup rather than kill them.”
Hajny’s attorney Michael Hart questioned the idea of a conspiracy theory because Douyette told police about it months after getting arrested and the couple left $13,000 that was openly visible in Aegerter's home that night.
Westphal countered the money wasn’t in the open because there was signs of hoarding within the home and it took investigators more than a week to find the cash.
Hart said the objective facts showed Douyette had beaten Aegerter while Hajny had left to get soda and came back and found the murder had taken place.
“This was a nasty, savage, heinous act,” Hart said. “This was brutal. It was a brutal homicide.”