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News from around Wisconsin (9:28 p.m. 11/6/09)

Fort victims had different reasons for enlisting

The 13 people killed when an Army psychiatrist allegedly opened fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, included a pregnant woman who was preparing to return home, a man who quit a furniture company job to join the military about a year ago, a newlywed who had served in Iraq and a woman who had vowed to take on Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Twins get SS Hardy, Brewers get OF Gomez

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers finally gave J.J. Hardy the change of scenery he had been expecting and reunited the unhappy shortstop with an old friend in the process.

The Brewers traded Hardy to the Minnesota Twins on Friday for speedy outfielder Carlos Gomez.

Hardy winds up with the Twins’ All-Star catcher, Joe Mauer, a teammate on the U.S. national teams in 2000 and 2003. The two still chat regularly when they see each other, and Hardy said the move could help him move on from a forgettable season.

The 27-year-old Hardy batted a career-low .229 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs in 115 games for the Brewers in 2009. He was demoted to Triple-A in August.

“I definitely knew I was going to get traded once I got sent down,” Hardy said. “Once I got the call this morning, I was pretty excited about it.”

The Twins think a fresh start can help Hardy regain the form that made him one of the league’s most promising young shortstops. A 2007 All-Star, he is just the third shortstop in Brewers’ history to hit more than 20 home runs in a season twice, along with Robin Yount and Jose Hernandez.

“It’s one of those seasons for me that I completely don’t want to think about it anymore. I was happy when it ended,” Hardy said. “It was just kind of a nightmare year for me.”

Man gets life in Wis. go-go dancer’s slaying

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge in Fond du Lac has sentenced a man accused of killing a young go-go dancer more than three decades ago to life in prison.

Prosecutors accused 53-year-old Thomas Niesen of Ashwaubenon of slashing Kathleen Leichtman’s throat in July 1976 and leaving her body by the side of a road. Leichtman, of Milwaukee, had come to Fond du Lac to dance at The Other Place bar.

Police arrested Niesen in February after analysts determined DNA showed he had sex with Leichtman up to 26 hours before she died.

A jury found Niesen guilty of first-degree murder in September. Fond du Lac County Circuit Judge Dale L. English handed down the sentence Friday.

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