Kemia Hassel

Kemia Hassel (Booking photo)

Wife Charged In Murder Of Michigan-Native Soldier On New Year's Eve

January 14, 2019 - 4:01 pm

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (WWJ/AP) - The wife of a Michigan-native U.S. Army soldier who was fatally shot while on leave for the holidays has been charged in his death, along with her alleged boyfriend. 

Army Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III, a 23-year-old native of the Benton Harbor area, was killed on New Year's Eve in Colfax, Michigan, where he was visiting family.

Kemia Hassel, 22, appeared in court Monday for an arraignment on two counts of first degree pre-meditated murder, according to the Berrien County Prosecutor's Office.

Jeremy Cuellar -- with whom she was allegedly having an affair -- has also been charged with murder. The 24-year-old is in custody in Liberty County, Georgia, where he is awaiting extradition.

Prosecutors allege that the pair, who are also on active duty in the Army, plotted the killing so they could continue their relationship and receive the Army's death benefit.

An obituary for Tyrone Hassel III listed his "loving wife" and their son as survivors.

"Tyrone was a devoted husband, father, son, brother, and soldier. 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," the obituary continues. "His life and legacy will forever be cherished in the lives of his family."

Tyrone Hassel Jr. told TV station WSBT that his son was "assassinated." He wrote on a Gofundme page that his son had just came off a tour in South Korea but was stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia, adding: "His death is a shock to everyone that knows him because he was loved by all. Sgt Hassel was gunned down on his own door step after delivering a plate of food to his wife and 1 year old son. "

Kemia Hassel, who was arrested Saturday during a memorial service for her husband, was ordered held on a $2.5 million bond. She remains in the Berrien County Jail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.