Appellate Court Denies Appeal of Dancer Killer

10/6/11 – A former Fond du Lac man lost his bid Wednesday to get out of a murder conviction in the slaying of a dancer 35 years ago. The Second District Court of Appeals refused to buy Thomas Niesen’s claim that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to link him to the death of 19-year-old Kathleen Leichtman of Fond du Lac. Authorities said Niesen lured the dancer out of a bar, slashed her throat, and left her at a roadside. The murder took place in 1976, but Niesen was not arrested until 2009. That was after D-N-A tests showed that Niesen was with the woman just 26 hours before she died. The 56-year-old was sentenced to life in prison, and he’s serving that time at Waupun Correctional. He claimed the evidence was not sufficient for a rational jury to determine that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt but the appellate judges said otherwise.