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Monroe man charged with perjury seeks dismissal
Kenneth Kopplin
Kenneth Kopplin

MONROE — The first person charged with perjury in Green County in at least 20 years is trying to get the case dismissed.

Kenneth Harold Kopplin, 48, Monroe, was charged in September with a Class H felony charge of committing perjury before the court. The case involves a dispute over his involvement in the motorcycle gang Hells Angels and a related assertion that he solves problems with guns.

A search of public court records going back 20 years shows no other perjury cases in Green County.

District Attorney Craig Nolen said his internal records going back to 2000 show no perjury cases in the county either, however he is aware of one “self-confessed perjury” in a divorce proceeding. A woman with a “guilty conscience” later confessed to him that she’d lied under oath in court about division of property in the divorce.

Nolen said because her perjury was not material to the case and she’d confessed her crime in good faith, he chose not to prosecute it.

Kopplin’s case is different, according to Nolen, because Kopplin’s assertion in a recorded statement to police that he “handles things” with guns, which he later denied in court, is directly related to a harassment injunction case.

“From the state’s perspective, it’s a material statement,” Nolen said.

The case against Kopplin is built on a three-minute, 15-second DVD recording of body camera footage from Officer Brent Krebs of the Monroe Police Department as well as transcripts of court testimony before Judge James Beer, according to court records filed with the criminal complaint.

On July 4, in an interview at the Monroe Police Department regarding a harassment injunction case against Kopplin, he reportedly told Officer Krebs he was a Hells Angel.

“You handle things with guns ... so do I,” Kopplin was recorded as saying. Kopplin added that if the person who sought the restraining order against him was found in a ditch, “it happens” and “he has been warned.”

“He knows I’m a Hells Angel and we will leave it at that,” Kopplin told Officer Krebs.

At an injunction hearing in Green County Circuit Court two weeks later, Kopplin was asked about this interaction: “In your contact with the police department, did you state that you were a member of Hells Angels and that you solved your problems with guns?”

“Absolutely not,” Kopplin responded. He went on to describe the statement as “purely hearsay.”

When asked if he was a member of Hells Angels, he responded, “I was.”

Kopplin’s attorney filed a motion Oct. 5 seeking to get the case against his client dismissed, on grounds that Nolen failed to establish a factual basis for the perjury charge.

The questioning of Kopplin in court was imprecise and misinterpreted Kopplin’s words, Monroe attorney Robert Duxstad argued.

The wording used in court to question Kopplin “is not what the (police officer’s) body camera recording reflects were the words of the defendant,” Duxstad wrote. Specifically, Duxstad took issue with the interpretation that Kopplin said he solves his problems with guns.

“The phrase ‘solved my problems with guns’ was never stated by the defendant,” Duxstad wrote. “The statement of the defendant to the officer as reflected on the body camera is nothing more than an assertion that if he is threatened by another person, he will protect himself by using a gun.”

Duxstad contends Kopplin was asked a compound, or double-barreled, question in court — “Did you state that you were a member of Hells Angels and that you solved your problems with guns?” — and therefore his answer cannot be used as a basis for perjury.

“The state cannot rely on the question and answer relating to membership in the Hells Angels as a basis for perjury,” Duxstad wrote. “Since the defendant never said he solved his problems with a gun, he could not truthfully answer the question with an affirmative response.”

In a response brief filed a week later on Oct. 12, Nolen dismissed Duxstad’s argument as “largely grammatical” and pointed to another point in the transcript where Kopplin denied he told police he “handles problems with guns.”

A preliminary hearing is scheduled in the case on Dec. 3 before Green County Judge Thomas Vale.