Father of teen who killed half sister sentenced to prison

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The father of both a teen who was murdered and her brother who murdered her will now join his son in prison.

David Schmus, the father of 18-year-old McKenna Hilton who was strangled by her younger brother Savon Schmus, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.

The 51-year-old father had to deal the death of his daughter and his son going to prison for 40 to 100 years for her murder. Now, he is heading to prison after his surviving daughter provided evidence to police.

It is the latest twist in a tale of depraved and deadly dysfunction.

On Oct. 30, Savon Schmus was sentenced to death for his sister’s death. He admitted to strangling her in August of 2016 and leaving her body along the road in Grand Rapids Township.

A dog walker found Hilton’s body in the brush at Emerald Lake Drive and Valentine Street NE.

“After dealing with several murders and sexual assaults on children, this is the most horrific crime the court has handled,” said Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Quist.

Hilton’s mother also spoke to Savon Schmus.

“I hate you. I will never forgive you. McKenna did nothing to you to deserve what you did,” said Stacey Hilton.

Also speaking briefly was David Schmus, with a quote from the New Testament book 1 Corinthians 13:7.

“Love never gives up. Love never loses faith,” Schmus said.

In 2010, the father pleaded guilty to taking a picture of then 12-year-old McKenna as she was in the shower.

David Schmus faced as much as 15 years in prison because of previous convictions on drugs and illegal gun possession dating back to the 1990s.

However, because of his plea, he received two years of probation along with requirements for counselling. He would go on to violate his probation for possessing alcohol and then have to spend several weekends in jail, according to court records.

As the case went before the judge, Schmus’ family members, including Savon Schmus, wrote letters supporting him and asking for leniency.

Stacey Hilton also pleaded for mercy for her ex-husband.

In October, police say that David Schmus left his cell phone in someone else’s car and that person found sexual pictures of children.

The phone was given to Schmus’ 30-year-old daughter, who turned it over to police.

He then confessed to police he had been searching “teen porn” and admitted to looking at images of teens younger than 16. He was also charged with possession of narcotics, although that was dismissed as part of a plea deal.

On Tuesday, Schmus was sentenced to between one-and-a-half and six years in prison.

Stacey Hilton, the mother of the murder victim but not the murderer, said the child pornography conviction gives grim clarity to what happened to her daughter six years before she was killed.

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