Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘This Bullet’s For You’ on Investigation Discovery: Bruce Schunk Entered Keith Lewandowski’s Florida Home & Executed Him (July 14, 2018)

ID Go: A couple from Michigan realizes a long held dream when they relocate to Florida, but their life in the sun is destroyed when they get into a fatal conflict with their neighbor. -This Bullet’s for You, Fear Thy Neighbor (S5, E7)

Date: July 4, 2012
Victim: Keith Lewandowski, 46, contractor
Offender: Bruce Schunk, 65, security guard, former military mechanic (veteran)
Location: Clearwater, Florida
Circumstances: Bruce Schunk moved to Florida to be near his sister, Bruce loved his dog Sweeney and always walked his dog, this community meant the world to Bruce, Sandra and Keith moved to Florida from Michigan, the newcomers fit right in with the community, Rudy Derrazo also lived in the community, Bruce broke his phone and Sandra & Keith gave him one to use, Bruce was trying to be a good neighbor and replaced a battery in Sandra’s car, Bruce and Sandra said he didn’t know what he was doing and the fix made the car worse, they didn’t want to be stuck with the bill and asked Bruce to pay for it but he refused, if Keith couldn’t get his money back, he was going to take the cell phone he gave Bruce, Keith called the phone, heard it in Bruce’s residence and went in and took the phone, Bruce discovered his home was broken into, he had to replace a couple broken windows, he was upset and it put him on edge, he knew who did it and confronted Keith, Keith said it was his phone and he took it, someone slashed the tires on Bruce’s new car, Bruce said he was harassed every time he took his dog for a walk, Keith would stand on his porch and bully Bruce, one neighbor said Keith was a nasty individual, Bruce didn’t want to live like this and offered a truce, Rudy and Keith were not interested, Keith made a sign saying all are welcome except Bruce, Bruce was humiliated, Keith & Rudy bullied and intimidated Bruce, Bruce put up his own sign that read “breaking and entering is a felony in Florida,” Bruce also put up some other signs like “Keith sucks,” it was a very public war of words, the neighbors didn’t like the signs and the town asked them to take them down, they didn’t hang out or talk, they didn’t acknowledge each other but Keith continued to verbally bully Bruce when he took his dog for a walk, Bruce felt like Keith was unstable, one day, Keith confronted Bruce on the street and told him to stay away from his family, neighbors called the police because they were physically fighting, the police couldn’t do anything because they were both in the wrong, the police separated them, Bruce told the cops a serious pattern was developing, neighbors agreed they should be separated, this was a conflict with no end that continued to escalate, Keith and Rudy were at war with Bruce, Bruce felt isolated, the vandalism at Bruce’s home continued, Bruce was afraid and broke down in tears over the situation when he called the police, Keith and Rudy denied doing anything to Bruce’s property, cops told Bruce next time he called, he was getting arrested, Bruce had guns strategically located in his home, Bruce shot his gun into the air on his property, the neighbors were horrified, Susan called 911 this time and reported that Bruce was shooting his gun, it was Bruce’s warning to the neighborhood, don’t mess with him, cops showed up and Bruce denied it, the police took all his guns because it appeared to be a sign of provocation, Bruce stood in the middle of the street and threw bullets at Keith and Susan’s house, Bruce told Keith he was saving one bullet for him, Keith wanted to buy a gun but Susan told him to let it go, the community waited in fear, Bruce was walking Sweeney one day when Keith and Rudy drove towards Bruce like they were going to run him down, Bruce was upset that they almost ran his dog over, Bruce had reached a point of no return, other neighbors admitted they wouldn’t put up with it as long as Bruce did, Bruce bought a new gun, mentally he had had enough, Keith and Susan were relaxing at their home, Bruce went to their home with a gun in hand, opened their unlocked door, and walked into their home, Susan threatened to call the police, Bruce pointed the firearm at Susan, Keith stepped in between Susan and Bruce, Bruce shot Keith between the eyes and let Susan live but he left her shocked and traumatized, Bruce wasn’t done yet, he wanted to settle the score with Rudy too, he went to Rudy’s house, shot in the locked door but Rudy wasn’t there, Bruce was glad he wasn’t home that day, Bruce went home, called 911, and placed the weapon on the ground, he admitted to killing Keith and said he felt terrible about what happened, Bruce asked the police to arrest him, Bruce was arrested, neighbors didn’t condone what Bruce did but they had empathy for Bruce, you can only push someone so far before they reach a breaking point, Rudy died of a heart attack not long after the shooting, Susan moved out of the neighborhood, police are not sure what set Bruce off on July 4th
Disposition: Faced with a lengthy trial, Bruce Schunk pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison

Source: ‘This Bullet’s For You’ Fear Thy Neighbor, Investigation Discovery

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Obituary: Keith Lewandowski (1965-2012)
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Charge Report
Clearwater man charged with murder
1st-degree murder charges in Schunk killing
Op-Ed: Neighbor feuds in a world of uncertainty
Detectives: Feud between neighbors at Pinellas mobile home park ends in death
Deputies: Man shot in the face, killed by allegedly drunk neighbor
Man Guns Down Neighbor in Front of Wife, Deputies Say
Police: Man killed protecting wife from shooter
Clearwater man pleads guilty in neighbor’s slaying
Clearwater man gets 40 years in prison for killing neighbor
This Bullet’s For You | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S5, E7)

48 Hours Premiered ‘The Evidence Room’ on CBS (2017)


“48 Hours” goes behind the scenes with a defense team and cutting edge forensic animators as they strategize to defend a woman accused of murder. CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith investigates in a special two-hour edition of “48 Hours” airing Saturday, Dec. 23 starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Honoring the victim: Robert McKernan.

Related Links:
Sneak peek: The Evidence Room | 48 Hours
“It was the last time he was going to hurt me” | 48 Hours
Colleen McKernan reaches plea deal, avoids third murder trial
Air Force Veteran Colleen McKernan Shot Husband Robert 10 Times; Plead Guilty to Manslaughter to Avoid 3rd Trial, Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison (2014)

Reasonable Doubt Premiered ‘Failure to Remember’ on Investigation Discovery: Penny Brummer Maintains Innocence in the 1994 Homicide of Sarah Gonstead (June 21, 2017)

Penny Brummer, a military vet, is accused of murdering her ex-girlfriend’s best friend in a jealous rage. However, Penny was so drunk that night she was in a blackout state. Can Chris and Melissa help fill in the gaps of her memory to prove her innocence? -Reasonable Doubt, Investigation Discovery

Air Force veteran Penny Brummer was convicted on October 1, 1994 of murdering her ex-girlfriend’s best friend 21-year-old Sarah Gonstead in Madison, Wisconsin. On March 14, 1994, after a night of heavy drinking with Penny, Sarah was shot in the back of the head execution style and found three weeks later in a secluded field. Detectives theorized that Sarah most likely trusted her killer. On this episode of Investigation Discovery’s Reasonable Doubt, Penny’s mother, Nancy Brummer, turned to Detective Chris Anderson and criminal defense attorney Melissa Lewkowicz to help her prove Penny’s innocence. Nancy believes the prosecution had no concrete evidence except for circumstantial evidence and she also believes the the jury was biased and led to believe that lesbians are inherently violent. Detective Anderson and Melissa Lewkowicz worked with Nancy Brummer by taking a second look at Penny Brummer’s case featured in the ninth episode of Reasonable Doubt aptly titled ‘Failure to Remember’. It’s their job to investigate the cases that family members swear are wrongful homicide convictions and in the end the duo share their assessment of guilt or innocence based on meticulous investigative work.

Nancy Brummer has been fighting to free her daughter for twenty-two years. She told Detective Anderson and Melissa that they were her last hope. The two learned that Sarah Gonstead left her mother’s house to go out for a night of drinking to celebrate her 21st birthday with her friend Penny but Sarah never came home. Twenty-five days later, Sarah was found in a secluded field in Madison. Sarah had been shot execution style in the back of the head and Penny was the last known person to see her alive. Eight days later, Penny was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Penny claims she pulled over to clean up some beer that spilled in her vehicle and Sarah exited the vehicle to walk half a block to her best friend Glenda’s house. But prosecutors painted a darker picture. They theorized the two got drunk and Penny drove Sarah out to a empty soy field and murdered her. Prosecutors believed the motive was jealousy because Glenda had just broken up with Penny and Penny blamed Sarah for the break-up. They claimed Penny wanted revenge and the jury bought it. Penny Brummer is currently serving life in prison and her first opportunity for parole is in 2045.

Detective Anderson and Melissa met with the Nancy Brummer first to hear her plea for justice. Nancy stated that she wanted to find the person who committed the crime and free Penny so she can come home. Nancy confirmed that Glenda and Penny were dating and broke up about a month prior to Sarah’s disappearance. Sarah was Glenda’s best friend and the three of them would hang out and party together. Penny was in her early twenties at the time of the homicide so her behavior was typical of most young people at that stage in their life. Nancy Brummer described Penny as very social and happy-go-lucky. She said Penny was really into sports and she was on the softball team and volleyball team in high school. Nancy opined Penny was a typical teenager and started drinking around the age of seventeen. After high school, Penny joined the Air Force and shared with her mom that it was hard being in the military because of the secrecy she had to maintain regarding her sexual orientation. Nancy Brummer believes that the jury was biased and led to believe that a lesbian is more prone to violence. She referenced a questionnaire that Melissa agreed was inflammatory and would need a second look.

The prosecution painted a picture that Penny was jealous of the friendship between Glenda and Sarah. The two were strictly friends and Sarah was straight. Nancy observed that Penny was sad and disappointed about the break-up but not what one would consider obsessive. She reminded Detective Anderson and Melissa that the prosecution had nothing: no physical evidence, no DNA, no blood evidence, nothing that tied Penny to the murder. The prosecution said the gun that was used in the commission of the crime was a 22 handgun that belonged to Penny’s father. Nancy admits that her husband’s gun did go missing and was never recovered. When Sarah’s body was found, Nancy said a witness came forward to the police and said that he had driven by the scene of the crime a day or two after the murder and saw a suspicious vehicle along the side of the road. He saw a man standing behind the vehicle with what looked like a pink and purple duffle bag and as it turns out, Sarah’s jacket was the same pink and purple color. Nancy said this evidence was ignored. Nancy informed both Detective Anderson and Melissa that even if they don’t find Penny innocent, she will keep fighting for her release.

Detective Anderson and Melissa began their investigation. Detective Anderson started with the man who was the eyewitness. This man told Detective Anderson that he did in fact see a vehicle by the side of the road near the location of where Sarah’s body was found in the field. He claims he made eye contact with the man in question but that was about the extent of it. He said after the man made eye contact with him, he put his head down. The eyewitness was concerned that this man was trying to move the body, after all it was only a couple days after she had gone missing. He said the police informed him that they already had a suspect in the case and he felt that his testimony was largely discounted and ignored. Melissa investigated the prosecutors jealousy motive. One of Penny’s close friends described her as a great friend and a someone she went bar-hopping with. Penny’s friend believes that she was a binge drinker and most likely an alcoholic because she would drink until she blacked out. Penny’s friends said she hoped she would get back together with Glenda but certainly didn’t act like a jealous ex-girlfriend. Penny’s friend Mary believes she is innocent.

Detective Anderson met with a forensic expert to go over the physical evidence or lack there of. The two examined the crime scene photos and other evidence available. The forensic expert didn’t see any signs of struggle and it appeared Sarah’s body fell forward after she was shot in the head. There was no sexual assault and no beating. It was an execution style killing and Sarah most likely knew and trusted the person who shot her. Sarah was walking in front of the perpetrator when she was shot in the back of her head. Detective Anderson visited the last known location of both Penny and Sarah, a local bar in Madison. A witness said Sarah and Penny were celebrating Sarah’s birthday because she had just turned twenty-one. The two had been drinking prior to their arrival at the bar but the witness didn’t think either appeared to be drunk. She said they showed up at the bar around 10:30 p.m. and left a couple hours later; they had a couple drinks while they were there. The witness observed they were both in great spirits and having fun and they were both able to carry on a conversation. On the night in question, Sarah was kind of quiet while Penny appeared to be enjoying herself with others at the bar. Neither of them were agitated or upset; they both appeared to be in a really good mood.

Detective Anderson interviewed Penny via the telephone. Penny said she dated Glenda for 8 or 9 months and admits she fell in love with her. She also claimed to have a nice friendship with Sarah. She shared that Sarah never did anything bad to her and never meddled in her relationship with Glenda. Penny said Glenda just decided one day to end things and told her she was going back on birth control. Penny assumed Glenda wanted to go back to guys. After the break-up, Penny was heartbroken. She admitted she got physical with Glenda one time; they pushed each other during an argument. On March 14, 1994, Penny said she got out of work around 7:30 p.m., got some beer, and went to Sarah’s house. Penny said they stopped at a couple bars and drank more beer. Penny said she doesn’t remember being at Jakes (the bar where the eyewitness last saw both Penny and Sarah at around midnight). Penny admitted she was an alcoholic then and was very intoxicated. Penny and Sarah were on their way to pick up Glenda when Penny spilled some beer in her car and stopped to clean it up. Penny said Sarah wasn’t feeling well so she started walking to Glenda’s house which was about a half a block away. Penny told Detective Anderson she doesn’t know why she didn’t take Sarah to Glenda’s house but she went home after cleaning her car. Penny reminded Detective Anderson that she isn’t the type to kill anyone, she didn’t have a weapon, and she had absolutely no reason to hurt Sarah.

In the meantime, Melissa looked at the questionnaire that was given to the jury asking them about their thoughts about lesbians and violence. Melissa said, as a criminal defense attorney, she would insist that the jury not be subjected to or see the questionnaire because it is inflammatory. Melissa also spoke with Glenda who was the glue that held the case together. Glenda claimed she dated Penny for about a year but wasn’t necessarily in love with her. Glenda claimed Penny drank a lot but could still function; she just wouldn’t remember it. Glenda described Sarah as a shy, soft-hearted, and loyal friend. Glenda believed that Penny was jealous of her friendship with Sarah. Glenda admitted that Penny did in deed find her birth control pills and assumed that she was breaking up with her so she could date men again. Glenda admitted she broke up with Penny because she was way too controlling. Glenda also claimed Penny was pissed that she broke up with her. When Glenda ended it, Penny shoved her and she shoved her back and kicked her out of her house. Glenda said the look in her eyes scared the crap out of her and she began to cry. Glenda believes they have the right person and is still grieving the loss of her friend.

Detective Anderson and Melissa met with Nancy Brummer to share the results of their investigation. Nancy claimed the jury was bias because of Penny’s sexual orientation and Melissa believes she was absolutely right. Melissa said the questions asked of the jury were highly prejudicial. Penny’s close friend felt that the motive of jealousy was crap but Glenda was 100% convinced Penny was the killer. Glenda claimed the motive in this case was vengeance. Glenda declared that if Penny gets out of jail, she is moving to another state because she is scared of her; if Penny did this once, who is to say she won’t do this again? Nancy doesn’t believe Glenda and said she is a good actress. Detective Anderson told Nancy he followed up with the eye witness at the scene of the crime and said this was a problem because each and every lead needs to be taken seriously. He also shared that only one of the detectives was alive and he refused to meet with him. Melissa confirmed that there is no physical evidence tying Penny to the crime. Detective Anderson addressed the gun they believed was used in the commission of the crime and Nancy confirmed the 22 they owned had indeed gone missing. Detective Anderson addressed the autopsy photos and shared that the forensic expert did not observe any signs of struggle. It was a cold night and if someone ran towards Sarah, she definitely would have heard it. Detective Anderson deduced Sarah was shot by someone she knew or was led into the field at gunpoint.

“Circumstantial cases are a series of little things that add up until they point in one direction.” -Detective Chris Anderson, Reasonable Doubt

Nancy Brummer said there was no way her daughter would have shot Sarah in the back of the head. But Detective Anderson had some serious issues with the fact that the only person who claims Penny was in a black out that night is Penny. He spoke with a bartender who claimed that Penny appeared to be functional. Jake’s bar is significant because it is less than two miles from where Sarah’s body was found. Detective Anderson noted that Penny said she couldn’t remember being at Jake’s that night but she remembered very specific things earlier and later that night. Detective Anderson felt it was suspicious that Penny remembered everything really well that night except being at this bar. Is this a form of convenient amnesia? Melissa empathized with why Nancy felt a sense of injustice all these years. The biased questionnaire, the ignored witnesses, and the overall investigation had major problems; the evidence was highly circumstantial. Penny was the last known person to see Sarah alive that night; Penny was last seen at a bar with Sarah which is located less than two miles from where Sarah’s body was found; Penny said she can’t remember being there but does remember a lot of details earlier and after Sarah went missing; Sarah was killed with a 22 and Penny’s father owned a 22 that was now missing; Penny was a military vet who was trained to shoot guns; and Sarah wasn’t trying to run away, she didn’t struggle, and she most likely knew and trusted her killer.

Why would Penny do this? Melissa shared that she read through the police reports and noted that Penny admitted she was heartbroken when things ended with Glenda. Penny also admitted that after the break-up she wondered who Glenda was with, where she was, and what she was doing. Penny also said Glenda was in her head 24 hours a day (obsessed) and that she resented Sarah because she assumed Sarah was trying to drag her back into the straight world. On the night of March 14, 1994, Penny did what she always did. Melissa explained Penny got really drunk, the break-up was fresh, her feelings were raw, and she spent the entire night with the person she believed came between her and the woman she loved. Melissa asked, “did Penny plan to walk Sarah into the woods or was it just a horrific idea fueled by fifteen drinks? Did she remember shooting Sarah, does she remember her falling to the ground, or does she not remember anything at all?” Ironically, Penny admits that prison saved her life. Penny believes she would not have made it to thirty had it not been for prison. Penny said she turned her life around behind bars. Based on the leads Nancy provided and an independent investigation, Detective Anderson and Melissa revealed there was nothing new in the investigation that would bring Penny home. They both suggested Nancy ask her daughter the tough questions and then she will know, even 22 years later.

“The problem is that the things Penny remembers are the things that will help her and the things that she can’t remember are the things that would potentially hurt her.” -Melissa Lewkowicz, Reasonable Doubt

Source: Reasonable Doubt ‘Failure to Remember’

Twenty-one years ago a jury found Penny Brummer guilty in the murder of Sarah Gonstead. The family of Brummer has spent those 21 years working to prove her innocence. Dave Delozier reports. -Channel 3000 | News 3 (December 14, 2015)

MJFA Links:
Sarah Gonstead was Shot Execution Style in the Back of Head After a Night Out Celebrating 21st Birthday with Friend & Air Force Veteran Penny Brummer (March 14, 1994)

Related Links:
Who Killed Sarah?
Seeking justice for Penny Brummer
New Trial for Penny Brummer, Wrongfully Convicted | Petition
Penny Brummer Defense & Support Fund by Truth in Justice

1994
Sarah Gonstead Murder

1995
Reasonable Doubt by Ingrid Ricks | The Advocate

1997
State of Wisconsin v. Penny L Brummer

2003
A short history of exposing misconduct

2005
Chapter 1: A tale of three young women
Chapter 2: A hole in her story
Chapter 3: A surprise witness appears
Chapter 4: Defense sows seeds of doubt
Chapter 5: Emotional debate ends in guilty verdict
Chapter 6: Supporters of Brummer offer their theories; they say the evidence was too thin and question makeup of jury
Gift enables investigative journalism class to probe old murder case

2012
Dane Co. DA Approves DNA Testing in 1994 Killing
Wisconsin DA approves DNA testing in 1994 killing
Will DNA Save Penny Brummer?
Spring Green woman could be cleared

2013
Innocence project founder promotes cause of Madison woman convicted of murder
Did Homophobia Convict a Wisconsin Woman of Murder?

2014
A Look Back After 20 Years
A look back at a 20-year-old murder and if the right person was convicted

2015
Who killed Sarah? The trial of Penny Brummer
Group questioning conviction of Penny Brummer in 1994 death of Sarah Gonstead
Reward offered in 21-year-old homicide conviction
$10,000 Reward Offered in Wrongful Conviction Case
Person of Interest Hits Wrongfully Convicted for Serving in U.S. Military
On Wrongful Convictions and Penny Brummer

2016
Penny Brummer’s fight for justice
The Lynching of a Madison Lesbian: Wisconsin’s Wrongful Conviction of Penny Brummer
Wrongful Conviction: Penny Brummer Is Innocent and Still in Prison
Richmond Crime Author Sheila Berry Takes on Wrongful Convictions Nationwide

2017
Penny Brummer convicted of murdering Sarah Gonstead, but is there Reasonable Doubt?

Books:
Who Killed Sarah? by Sheila & Doug Berry (2005) | Amazon
Who Killed Sarah? by Sheila & Doug Berry (2005) | Walmart

Video Links:
Reward offered in 21-year-old homicide conviction
Reasonable Doubt | Investigation Discovery | Amazon
Failure to Remember | Reasonable Doubt – Investigation Discovery
Failure to Remember | Reasonable Doubt | Investigation Discovery | YouTube

MFJA Links:
Sarah Gonstead Shot Execution Style on 21st Birthday; Friend & Air Force Veteran Penny Brummer Found Guilty of 1st Degree Murder, Sentenced to Life in Prison (March 14, 1994)
Air Force Veteran Penny Brummer Found Guilty of the 1st Degree Murder of Sarah Gonstead; Sentenced to Life in Prison with Possibility of Parole After 50 Years (October 1, 1994)

Georgia Army National Guardsman Sgt. Ating Eminue Shot and Killed in Atlanta; Harold Dodson Found Guilty and Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (2015)

Sgt. Ating Eminue

Sgt. Ating Eminue, US Army

Army Sgt. Ating Eminue was shot and killed outside a homeless shelter in Atlanta, Georgia on August 30, 2015. Harold Dodson was arrested and charged October 23rd in connection with the fatal shooting of the Georgia Army National Guardsman. A judge denied bond for Dodson in November 2015. Dodson had a history of crimes and made a living dealing drugs. He had five felony convictions before the age of 21. He will remain in jail while he awaits trial. In April 2017, the Fulton County prosecutor’s office announced Harold Dodson was found guilty and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole plus 30 years in prison. According to the family, Sgt. Eminue was a father and served three tours of duty in Afghanistan.

Related Links:
Guardsman shot, killed outside Atlanta homeless shelter
Active duty sergeant killed while trying to help homeless
Active Duty Soldier Killed Near Midtown Homeless Shelter
Man shot outside Atlanta club identified, no arrests made
Guardsman shot, killed outside Atlanta homeless shelter
Army Sergeant gunned down and killed while helping homeless
Harold Bernard Dodson | Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta
Reward increased in death of veteran shot helping homeless man
Arrest made in Pine Street murder of Guardsman
Arrest made in murder of Army sergeant who was helping homeless shelter
Police arrest Harold Dodson in murder of Army sergeant helping homeless shelter
Man held in Georgia Army National Guardsman’s slaying
Father has message for son’s accused killer
Judge denies bond for accused killer of Army sergeant
Honoring a soldier who gave his life on streets of Atlanta
Defendant Found Guilty in Death of Army Sergeant
Man guilty of killing soldier who helped homeless
Man Guilty of Killing Army Sergeant Who Helped Homeless
Ating Eminue (1991-2015) Forever Missed

Navy Seaman Elizabeth Shelton and Unborn Baby Survive Murder-For-Hire Plot, Husband and Two Acquaintances Guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Murder for the Life Insurance (2015)

US Navy

Navy seaman Elizabeth Shelton, 19, stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia survived a brutal assault in her home on August 22, 2015. Police got a call for a suspected home invasion and found Shelton unconscious, lying in a pool of blood. She suffered extensive facial injuries and was having difficulty breathing; she was rushed to the hospital. Shelton’s husband Anthony Johnson was also hurt during the home invasion. He reported that one of them tried to choke him to death while he lay in his bed. Johnson also reported that some of his friends stole his car. This led police to Tristan Reeder who told them that Johnson hired him and two others to kill his wife in exchange for the life insurance. Reeder said Johnson promised to give him $40,000 and Robert Burnette $70,000. Reeder also told police he pretended to choke Johnson unconscious while Burnette actually choked Shelton. Burnette then threw her off the bed and stomped on her head a half dozen times. They took off in Johnson’s car after they saw blood.

Three men were indicted on charges for trying to kill Anthony Johnson’s pregnant wife in a murder-for-hire plot: Robert Burnette, 19; Tristan Reeder, 21; and Joseph Apodaca, 21. They were charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and conspiracy to maliciously wound Elizabeth Shelton. Anthony Johnson, 21, was charged with three felonies connected with hiring the men to kill his wife. Court documents revealed that Johnson promised Burnette and Reeder more than $100,000 after he cashed in Shelton’s $400,000 life insurance pay-out. Reed, Burnette, and Johnson were held in Norfolk City Jail while they awaited trial. Johnson claimed he was framed and Elizabeth initially believed that he was innocent. She thought the men broke into the apartment because they were mad after they kicked them out the day before.

“He [Anthony Johnson] called my mother from jail and told her it wasn’t true,” Elizabeth Johnson said. “She told me he’s innocent. I didn’t have to ask him, I believed him.” -WAVY

In May 2o16, Anthony Johnson was found guilty of plotting to kill his pregnant wife in exchange for money from her life insurance policy. Joseph Apodaca testified in court that Johnson had been pressuring all three of them to kill his wife and make it look like a break-in. Initially Apodaca agreed but then when it came time to execute the plan, he backed out. A civilian jury sentenced Johnson to 35 years: 25 years for attempted capital murder, 5 years for conspiracy to commit capital murder, and 5 years for malicious wounding. Robert Burnette was found guilty of attempted capital murder and sentenced to 27 years in prison with 15 years suspended. Tristan Reeder pleaded guilty to attempted capital murder for hire and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Apodaca was charged with failure to report a felony and sentenced to 12 months in jail. Elizabeth Shelton recovered and gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

Related Links:
3 men charged in plot to kill acquaintance’s wife
Police: Man hired trio to kill pregnant wife
Man accused of hiring hit men: I didn’t try to kill my wife
Husband charged with murder-for-hire claims he was framed
Man accused of plotting pregnant wife’s murder says he’s innocent
Judge certifies murder-for-hire charge against Anthony Johnson
Charge against husband in Norfolk murder-for-hire plot certified to grand jury
Court documents map out timeline of Norfolk murder-for-hire case
Suspect in murder-for-hire plot testifies against victim’s husband
Man found guilty in Norfolk murder-for-hire plot of pregnant wife
Jury finds Norfolk man guilty in murder-for-hire case
Virginia man convicted of hiring hit men to kill wife for life insurance
Man sentenced to 35 years in prison for murder-for-hire plot
One of three men in Norfolk murder-for-hire sentenced to 12 years in prison
Man sentenced in husband’s murder-for-hire plot against pregnant wife
Hearing continued for suspect in Norfolk murder-for-hire
Guilty plea in murder-for-hire plot
Vancouver, Wash. Native Serves with Naval Beach Group TWO (NBG 2)

Ailsa Jackson Plead Guilty to Murdering Catherine Walker on Hawaii Army Base, Jackson to Testify Against Sgt Michael Walker Accused of Conspiring to Murder Spouse for Life Insurance (2014)

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.04.29 PM

Ailsa Jackson, Civilian, Hawaii

In December 2015, Ailsa Jackson admitted in federal court to stabbing the wife of an Army medic she was having an affair with. Catherine Walker was murdered in her home on the Aliamanu Military Reservation in Hawaii on November 14, 2014. As part of a plea agreement, Jackson is expected to be sentenced to 30 to 33 years in prison in exchange for testifying against Sgt. Michael Walker. Walker is accused of plotting to murder his wife for the life insurance. Meanwhile, he was court martialed by the Army and is serving two years for possessing child pornography and soliciting payment for sex. Walker faces a January 2017 murder trial in civilian court.

Related Links:
Army soldier and his girlfriend charged in murder of his wife
Woman arrested in Indiana for Hawaii murder of soldier’s wife
Honolulu murder suspect arrested in Fort Wayne
Woman arrested in stabbing death of soldier’s wife
‘Other woman’ accused of murder will return to HI to face charges
Army Soldier’s Lover Allegedly Stabbed His Wife To Death: FBI
Army soldier and his girlfriend charged in murder of his wife
Soldier’s lover admits to murdering wife
Woman pleads guilty in killing of Army medic’s wife
Mistress of Army Medic Pleads Guilty to Stabbing His Wife to Death with Kitchen Knife
Plea deal in military love triangle death hits snag
Sgt Michael Walker, US Army, Hawaii

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 11.47.28 AM

Catherine & Sgt Michael Walker, US Army

Danielle Nemetz Fatally Shot in Head by Spouse; Army Soldier Skylar Nemetz Charged & Convicted of Manslaughter, Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison (October 16, 2014)

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 7.54.39 AM

Skylar Nemetz, US Army, and his wife Danielle Nemetz

48 Hours:

All new: A young wife shot dead — her soldier husband pulled the trigger. Was it an accident or murder? -48 Hours

A young wife shot dead — her soldier husband pulled the trigger. Was it an accident or was it murder?

On Oct. 16, 2014, Danielle Nemetz, 19, was shot and killed by her husband Skylar Nemetz, 20, in their Lakewood, Wash., apartment. Neighbors placed two 911 calls after hearing a gunshot. Skylar was charged with murder, but his defense says it was an accident and that these 911 calls show a distraught and panicked husband, not a cold-blooded killer. -48 Hours

On Oct. 16 2014, Army soldier Skylar Nemetz was taken into custody after he shot and killed his wife, Danielle. He was recorded on camera just minutes after the shooting. Do his statements sound like the words of a distraught husband who accidentally shot his wife or do they sound like the words of a cold-blooded killer? -48 Hours

Skylar Nemetz is on trial for the shooting death of his wife, Danielle. Prosecutors accuse Skylar of killing Danielle in a jealous rage, but Skylar says it was a tragic accident. During jury deliberations, “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty talks with Skylar as he waits to hear their verdict. -48 Hours

Army soldier Skylar Nemetz is on trial for the shooting death of his wife Danielle. He says it was an accident; prosecutors say it was murder. Skylar’s mother, Danette Heller, says she spent her life savings to pay for his defense. During jury deliberations, Skylar spoke with “48 Hours”‘ Erin Moriarty about his mother’s sacrifice. -48 Hours

In the News:

When a soldier claims he shot his young wife by accident, his mother gives up everything to support him. A jury must decide whether it was an accident, or an act of rage. -CBS This Morning

A young soldier is charged with murdering his wife in cold blood. He says it was an accident and can explain how it happened. Will the jury beieve him? -CBS Evening News

 

48 Hours: The Soldier’s Wife -CBS Miami

Skylar Nemetz stood trial in his wife’s fatal shooting. After seven days of deliberation, a jury finds Nemetz guilty of manslaughter, putting him away for slightly over a decade. -Crime Watch Daily

Skylar Nemetz has admitted to shooting his wife to death but he claims it was all an accident. The stunning new development to his story. -Crime Watch Daily

Skylar’s actions speak louder than his words. “The strongest evidence, believe it or not, is what he does immediately after the fact.” Skylar didn’t call 911, a neighbor did. And there wasn’t a single drop of Danielle’s blood on him, a clear sign that he didn’t try to save or even comfort her says Deputy prosecuting attorney Jared Ausserer. “He doesn’t render aid. He never checks on his wife. If it was an accident, he’s going to drop the weapon immediately, run over, grab her, assess her. He doesn’t do that.” He [Skylar’s defense attorney] knows the challenge will be convincing 12 jurors that a highly skilled soldier with years of weapon’s training could make such a fatal mistake. Juror and retired Army soldier: “Never point the weapon in the direction of anybody and pull the trigger like that believing that it’s unloaded.” -48 Hours

Related Links:
Neighbors report Danielle Nemetz shooting
Skylar Nemetz’s behavior after shooting wife captured on camera
Skylar Nemetz’s behavior after shooting wife captured on camera (YouTube)
JBLM soldier charged with murder in wife’s death
Lewis-McChord Soldier Charged with Murder in Wife’s Death
JBLM soldier charged with murder in shooting death of 19-year-old wife
Washington state soldier, accused of shooting 19-year-old wife in head with AR-15, free on bail
Too Young to Marry, Too Young to Die
Murder trial, military discharge pending for former Arcata High student
Trial underway for former Lakewood soldier accused of fatally shooting wife
Defense attorney loses on claim the Army and Pierce County ‘schemed’ to punish ex-JBLM soldier accused of murder
Former soldier breaks down as he tells jury about wife’s shooting death
Cops: Hubby shoots wife in head after man buys her booze
Family of Danielle Nemetz speaks out as her husband’s murder trial moves to jury deliberation
Jury reaches verdict in Skylar Nemetz murder trial
Army soldier found guilty of manslaughter
Ex-JBLM soldier convicted of manslaughter in shooting death of wife; victim’s family reacts
Seattle-are Soldier Convicted of Manslaughter in Shooting Death of Young Wife
Former Army soldier gets max sentence for shooting his young wife to death
Skylar Nemetz Sentenced to Over 13 Years for Shooting Death of Wife
Soldier who shot his wife dead ‘after another man bought her alcohol’ is found guilty of manslaughter but CLEARED of murder because ‘he thought gun was unloaded’
Lakewood killings net vastly different sentences for JBLM soldiers from the same unit
2 soldiers get vastly different sentences for deadly crimes
Army soldier defends Skylar Nemetz
Skylar Nemetz on his Mom’s Fight for Freedom
Case of former JBLM soldier who killed his wife to be featured on “48 Hours”
Danielle Rippeon Nemetz, Skylar Nemetz: On ’48 Hours,’ Former Soldier Murdered Wife Over Whiskey Gift from Male Visitor
48 Hours: The Soldier’s Wife
More coverage of “The Soldier’s Wife” on 48 Hours YouTube
Danielle Nemetz loved ones fire back after 48 hours episode
48 Hours Premiered ‘The Soldier’s Wife’ on CBS (2017)
Violent Crime at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
Facebook: Justice for Danielle Rippeon

Carlos Holcombe, US Army Veteran, Sentenced to Life in Prison for Kidnapping & Raping a 12 Year Old in El Paso, Texas (2014)

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Carlos Holcombe, US Army Veteran

Carlos Antonio Holcombe, US Army veteran, was accused of kidnapping a twelve year old child from a high school parking lot and raping her on August 22, 2014 in El Paso, Texas. He lured the little girl by asking her if she would help him move some boxes. He then pointed a gun at her back and forced her into his truck. He took her to his home, put duck tape over her eyes, bound her, and raped her. School cameras caught him in the act of the abduction and he was arrested by police the next day. He was indicted on one count of aggravated kidnapping and three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. According to reports, Holcombe served ten years in the US Army in support of Operation Desert Shield and was honorably discharged. He now claims he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) yet has not received any treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He used the PTSD defense claiming that he suffers from a disassociative disorder he developed after he was sexually abused as a child. He also used the temporary insanity defense, claiming he was drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana right before the incident. A psychologist testified that he examined Holcombe by giving him several psychological exams and the results of the exams showed that Holcombe was exaggerating or lying about his symptoms. Holcombe was found guilty by a jury of three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, and one count each of aggravated kidnapping and indecency with a child involving sexual contact. He was sentenced to life in prison on one count of aggravated kidnapping and 20 years in prison on a charge of indecency with a child involving sexual contact. The sentences will be served concurrently.

“You don’t get to claim you have PTSD and commit a rape.” -Prosecutor Alyssa Nava

Related Links:
Man indicted on aggravated kidnapping, 3 charges of aggravated sexual assault of child in Aug. incident in Horizon
Trial date set in Horizon City kidnapping, sexual assault case
Trial underway for man accused of kidnapping girl from Horizon HS football game
Trial underway for man accused of kidnapping 12-year-old girl from Horizon High School football game, raping her
Evidence shown in day three of Carlos Holcombe trial
Cameras show 12-year-old’s kidnapping
Girl testifies about kidnapping, sexual assault
Texas man convicted of kidnapping, raping girl, 12
Army vet found guilty of kidnapping, raping girl in Texas
Man found guilty of kidnapping, raping girl
Former soldier guilty of kidnapping, sexually assaulting girl he bound, blindfolded outside El Paso
Man gets life in kidnapping, rape of girl
Texan gets life in prison in kidnapping, rape of girl, 12

US Army Soldier Jeremiah Hill Convicted in Fatal Stabbing of Fellow Soldier Tevin Geike in 2013, Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison

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Spc. Tevin Geike, US Army

Learn more: Violent Crime at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

Related Links:
Police release 911 recording of fatal soldier stabbing
JBLM soldier stabbed to death in Lakewood confrontation
3 arrested in deadly stabbing of Lewis-McChord soldier
3 soldiers arrested in JBLM soldier’s stabbing death
3 soldiers arrested in fellow soldier’s stabbing death
Three soldiers arrested in fatal stabbing of JBLM soldier
3 soldiers charged in killing of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier
Murder charge filed in Washington state soldier-on-soldier stabbing
Three Washington state soldiers charged in stabbing death of fellow soldier
Jeremiah Hill, Tevin Geike Murder Suspect: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Spc. Tevin A. Geike, Soldier Murdered in Racially Charged Clash: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Stabbed Soldier ‘Died Like a Dog,’ Friend’s Mom Says
‘He died like a dog’: Friend’s tears as autopsy reveals white soldier ‘killed by black comrade’ was stabbed through the heart
Tevin Geike Murder: Race not main issue in stabbing death of U.S. soldier in Wash., police and prosecutors say
Maine soldier sentenced in connection with Washington murder
Maine soldier gets year in prison for role in Washington state killing
JBLM soldier accused in fatal stabbing appears in military court
Army: JBLM soldier to face court-martial in 2nd soldier’s death
Friends Testify Against JBLM Soldier Accused of Murder
Pvt. Jeremiah Hill takes stand, claims he stabbed Spc. Tevin Geike in self-defense
Army Soldier Sentenced to 45 Yrs Following Murder Conviction Involving Fellow Soldier
JBLM soldier convicted, sentenced to 45 years in peer’s slaying
JBLM soldier convicted in 2013 stabbing death of comrade
Lakewood killings net vastly different sentences for JBLM soldiers from the same unit
2 soldiers get vastly different sentences for deadly crimes

Deadly Women Premiered ‘Evil Guardians’ on Investigation Discovery: Single Mother Ellen Boehm Killed Two Sons for the Life Insurance (August 23, 2013)

A mother’s role is to love & protect her children, but for some, that doesn’t ring true. When a Missouri mom uses her children for money, it’s clear they lack motherly love. -Deadly Women, Investigation Discovery (S7, E6)

In 1986, 26-year-old Ellen Boehm of St. Louis, Missouri was tired of the constraints of family life. She was married to a much older Vietnam veteran and after five years of marriage, they had two children with a third baby on the way. It became quickly apparent, Ellen may not have been ready for the role of mom as she wasn’t your typical stay-at-home mom. Ellen loved professional wrestling and she spent a lot of time watching the matches. Ellen admitted her marriage was in trouble when she confided in friends. When she was eight months pregnant with the third child, her husband Paul told her when he was in Vietnam, he was exposed to Agent Orange and the only way he could be cured is if he went to Texas for treatment. But it was all a lie because Paul was not sick, he left her for another woman he met on-line. As a result, Ellen was broke. She had been abandoned by her husband but it didn’t stop her from indulging in her favorite pastime. But her favorite professional wrestling hobby started interfering with her life. By the time Ellen Boehm was 28-years-old, she was bankrupt. Her children were more of a burden than a joy.

Ellen’s two-year-old son David was fussy and she couldn’t deal with it. On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1988, she settled the two older children in bed and she let David stay up. As he was lying on the floor, she took a cushion off the couch and smothered him. When she thinks he was dead, she called for help and said she found little David unconscious. Emergency personnel rushed him to the hospital where David was put on life support. But the doctor said there was nothing they could do; he was brain dead. The doctor asked for permission to take David off life-support and Ellen eventually turned to the doctor and said “Pull it”. She never shed a tear. As a result, Ellen received a life insurance pay-out of $5000. Ironically, only eight months after David’s death, Ellen went shopping for life insurance policies for children. According to investigators, there was a total of $94,000 in life insurance taken out on her children. On September 13, 1989, Ellen’s 8-year-old daughter was taking a bath and Ellen dropped a hairdryer in the tub. She didn’t die so Ellen brought her to the hospital. Ellen’s daughter survived with no permanent injuries and everyone just accepted that it was an unfortunate accident.

Ellen Boehm

Ellen Boehm

Twelve days later, Ellen tried again. Her son Stevie was sleeping on the living room floor when Ellen decided to put a pillow over his face and smother him; he died. Steven’s passing created a sense of unease with Ellen’s friends because they couldn’t understand her reaction. It was as if it was just another day. For long time friend Deanne Bond, a third tragedy was just too much and she called the police. She suspected foul play and police conducted a thorough investigation. Realizing the police were closing in on two murders and one attempted murder, Ellen confessed to everything. She broke down and admitted she did it; she explained how she did it but never explained why. But it didn’t take a rocket scientist to observe that Ellen could not have the life she wanted with children so she chose murder. In 1993, Ellen Boehm pleaded guilty to one count of first degree murder and one count of second degree murder. She received two life sentences with no possibility of parole. Her friend Deanne suspected after she received the first $5,000 life insurance pay-out for her youngest son David, it set the whole thing in motion. Ellen killed her children for money, it was all about the pay-day.

Source: Deadly Women ‘Evil Guardians’

38. Ellen Boehm of Saint Louis, Missouri

In the 1980s, when Ellen Boehm couldn’t pay her debt, she turned to the quickest payout she knew: life insurance. She murdered her two sons and attempted to kill her daughter. In 1992, Ellen was sentenced to two life terms in prison and is currently incarcerated in Vandalia.

50 American Women Who Killed In 50 Words or Less | Soap Boxie

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Mommy Needs Money: Why Ellen Boehm Murdered Her Children
50 American Women Who Killed In 50 Words or Less
Evil Guardians | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (website)
Evil Guardians | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S7, E6)
Books: Sleep, My Child, Forever by John Coston