Kemia Hassel

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

Wife Guilty Of Killing Soldier Husband In Love Triangle Gone Wrong

July 19, 2019 - 7:04 am

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (WWJ/AP) - The wife of a U.S. Army sergeant who plotted to kill her husband so she continue a romantic relationship with another man has been found guilty of murder.

Kemia Hassel was convicted Thursday by a Berrien County jury on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the death of her husband Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III.  

Authorities say the 23-year-old Hassel was ambushed on New Year's Eve while visiting his family in St. Joseph Township. He died of multiple gunshot wounds, including one to the head, according to the autopsy report.

Kemia Hassel told police in a signed statement that she spent months planning how to kill her husband so she could continue her romantic relationship with 24-year-old Jeremy Cuellar. All three were soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

Kemia and Tyrone Hassel married in 2016 and had a 1-year-old son. She told police she was unhappy with her marriage, but didn't want to go through a divorce because she then wouldn't be able to receive any life insurance money, St. Joseph Township Police Officer Mike Lanier testified. 

Hassel and Cuellar began plotting while they were deployed in South Korea last year, Lanier said. The pair communicated through Snapchat because they believed the social media app's temporary messages would make it difficult for police to trace, he said.

Army Specialist Jaquan Hamilton and Army Corporal Tatanya Butler testified that they were aware of Kemia Hassel and Cuellar's affair and their plan.

Cuellar is in custody on a $2.5 million bond and will be tried next month on first degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges.

Sentencing for Hassel is set for Aug. 29.