Wisconsin man charged with killing 79-year-old in Menards parking lot altercation

The altercation stemmed from how the victim parked.
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Russell Paulson

Russell Paulson

A Wisconsin man accused of fatally beating a 79-year-old man in the parking lot of Menards has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide in connection to the May 1 incident. 

Matthew L. Kinstler, 50, is accused of getting into an altercation with Russell Paulson over how he parked at around 2:19 p.m. on May 1 at the Menards at 223 Lang Drive in La Crosse, Wisconsin, according to the criminal complaint. 

Court documents state Kinstler was parked near the front of the store and when he was returning to his car, he saw Paulson nearly hit his vehicle while he was parking. Witnesses said Kinstler walked up to Paulson and accused him of dinging his vehicle and began yelling at him, while Paulson denied hitting the vehicle. 

Witnesses said Kinstler then got into Paulson's face and Paulson slapped him, the complaint says. Kinstler then took Paulson's cane and hit him, causing him to fall to the ground. 

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Paulson was brought to the hospital. He suffered multiple skull fractures and bleeding around his brain, the complaint said. Investigators had a difficult time interviewing Paulson because he's hard of hearing, but when asked if he gave permission for Kinstler to hit him, he said "Hell no. Hell no."

Paulson died on May 4, the complaint says. A Go Fund Me page set up for him is raising money to place a memorial bench and plaque at his favorite birding spot. 

Kinstler said he acted in self-defense, the complaint says. If convicted, Kinstler could face up to 60 years in prison. 

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