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Man held on $100,000 cash bond after fight in La Crosse Menards parking lot
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Man held on $100,000 cash bond after fight in La Crosse Menards parking lot

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Matthew Kinstler mug

Matthew Kinstler

The man police say was involved in a fight last week that left a 79-year-old La Crosse man dead was arrested Tuesday night.

Matthew Kinstler, 50, of Holmen is being held on a $100,000 cash bond in the La Crosse County Jail for first-degree reckless homicide.

Kinstler was taken into custody without incident at 7:04 p.m. at 308 Losey Blvd. N., according to authorities.

According to the La Crosse Police Department, Kinstler became upset with Russell W. Paulson because he thought Paulson had parked too closely to his vehicle in the parking lot of Menards, 223 Lang Drive. The two got into a verbal argument, which escalated into a physical altercation.

Paulson died Monday morning at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse as a result of his injuries.

Kinstler initially was arrested on charges of substantial battery and disorderly conduct on Friday. He was released later that day on a signature bond.

“We didn’t realize the gravity of the injuries, and we were operating on COVID-19 recommendations,” said prosecutor Susan Donskey in court Wednesday.

He was arrested again Tuesday after prosecutors say he threatened an unspecified meeting meant to take place Wednesday morning. Donskey asked Judge Elliott Levine for $1 million cash bond, arguing that with the strength of the state’s case, there was a significant risk of Kinstler fleeing the area.

“The defendant has been acting erratically for a while now,” said Donskey. “We believe he is a risk to the community if he is released.”

Public defender Zachariah Fudge spoke on behalf of Kinstler, saying Kinstler did not have $1 million to post and was not a risk to not appear.

Fudge argued that cash bonds are meant to assure appearance, and nonmonetary conditions were meant to protect the community. He added that Kinstler was a lifelong resident of La Crosse County, an eight-year veteran of the Naval Reserves and has an associates degree, saying that indicates a lower risk to not appear.

Levine ordered a $100,000 cash bond. If it’s posted, Kinstler will be prohibited from contacting members of Paulson’s family and will be required to remain under house arrest.

Kinstler is scheduled to be back in court at 1:30 p.m. Monday.


“The defendant has been acting erratically for a while now. We believe he is a risk to the community if he is released.” Susan Donskey, prosecutor

Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

“The defendant has been acting erratically for a while now. We believe he is a risk to the community if he is released."

Susan Donskey, prosecutor

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