ST. JOSEPH, Mich.—The wife of a U.S. Army sergeant from Michigan who plotted to kill her husband has been found guilty of murder.
Kemia Hassel was convicted on July 18 by a Berrien County jury in the death of Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III.
The 23-year-old Hassel was fatally shot in an ambush on New Year’s Eve while visiting his family in St. Joseph Township.
Prosecutors contended during trial that Kemia Hassel told police she spent months planning her husband’s death so she could continue a romantic relationship with 24-year-old Jeremy Cuellar. All three were soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia.
A video taped confession will be a key point of argument at the murder trial of Kemia Hassel.
She’s accused of killing her husband, a soldier who was home for the holidays, to collect a $400k life insurance policy. pic.twitter.com/lbuk8hqSlA
— Joshua Short (@JoshuaShortWNDU) July 16, 2019
When Hassel was shot just after 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, he had left a gathering to take a plate of food to his wife, Hassel’s father, Tyrone Hassel Jr., told WWMT.
“I told him to hurry up back. because I didn’t want him out there at midnight,” said Hassel Jr.
But shortly after leaving the house, he was shot.
“He came back out the house and somebody shot him,” said Hassel Jr. “I don’t know if somebody followed him.”
Hassel’s added that his son initially planned to leave Michigan on Jan. 2 “but his wife’s birthday is on January 3rd, so they decided they would stay for a couple of extra days.”
“I don’t know nobody who hate my son, he had no enemies,” he added.
— Lynsey Mukomel (@lynseymukomel) January 12, 2019
Judge Angela Pasula set Kemia Hassel’s sentencing for Aug. 29.
Cuellar is in custody on a $2.5 million bond, and will be tried in August on first-degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges.
According to the slain soldier’s obituary, he enlisted in the United States Army in 2015 after being part of the ROTC in high school and studying Mechanical Engineering at Grand Valley State University.
The obituary said that Hassel “met and fell in love with Specialist Kemia Martin” while they were both serving the country. They were married in May 2017 and had one child together. The family resided in Hinesville, Georgia.
“Tyrone was a devoted husband, father, son, brother, and soldier,” the obituary stated.
“He had a jovial personality and loved having a good time, whether he was playing pool, basketball, baseball or taking care of his dogs. Tyrone enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, he had a true zeal for life.”
If you’re visiting Benton Harbor, MI and you don’t know nobody. Some of the safest things to do is…In the summer…
NTD News reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.