Man pleads guilty to soldier’s murder in SW Michigan

Southwest Michigan
Jeremy Cuellar preliminary hearing 022119 AP_1550802481628

Jeremy Cuellar, 24, appears with his co-defendant, Kemia Hassel, 22, (not pictured) for a preliminary exam on a charge first-degree premeditated murder at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (Joel Bissell/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP)

ST JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — A suspect in the killing of a U.S. Army sergeant from Michigan has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Jeremy Cuellar on Monday admitted to being a co-conspirator with Kemia Hassel in the New Year’s Eve 2018 murder of Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III.

Tyrone Hassel Kemia Hassel 011419_1547499031733.jpg.jpg
An undated courtesy photo of Tyrone Hassel III and Kemia Hassel.

The 23-year-old Hassel was fatally shot in an ambush while visiting his family in St. Joseph Township. A jury on July 18 found Kemia Hassel guilty of first-degree premeditated murder in her husband’s death. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 29.

Kemia Hassel and Cuellar, both soldiers themselves, reportedly were lovers and plotted the murder to collect Army death benefits and life insurance money. All three were soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

The 24-year-old Cuellar faces a minimum of 65 years in prison and could be sentenced up to life in prison for second-degree murder.

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