Daily Briefs

Wife charged with murder in death of Army soldier-husband

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — A soldier at home in Michigan during the holidays was ambushed and killed by another soldier on New Year’s Eve in a plot that involved the victim’s wife, authorities said Monday.

Kemia Hassel, 22, and Jeremy Cuellar, 24, were charged with murder in Berrien County in southwestern Michigan. They’re active duty soldiers at Fort Stewart in Georgia and were having an extramarital affair, prosecutor Mike Sepic said.

Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III, who was also stationed at Fort Stewart, was killed in St. Joseph Township after bringing food to his wife from a family gathering. The 23-year-old was a native of the Benton Harbor area and had a 1-year-old son with Kemia.

“It was planned out. Basically my son was assassinated,” Tyrone Hassel Jr. said.

Cuellar is accused of ambushing and shooting Hassel. He’s in custody in Liberty County, Georgia, and will be extradited to Michigan. It wasn’t known if Cuellar and Kemia Hassel have attorneys yet.

“The motive for the two to plot Sgt. Hassel’s death may have been to continue their relationship and reap the Army’s death benefit from his murder,” Sepic said.

He said investigators received key information from Army investigators at Fort Stewart.

Hassel’s father said he’s stunned by the allegations and was deceived by his daughter-in-law. A funeral was held Saturday.

“I spent two weeks with this person, after she killed my son. ... I grieved for her more than I grieved for myself. Because I saw a woman that lost her husband,” Tyrone Hassel told WSBT-TV.


Wayne County Judge  Vonda Evans suddenly resigns

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area judge who was criticized last year for her attendance says she’s resigning after 21 years on the bench.

Wayne County Judge Vonda Evans described her departure as a retirement in an emotional video posted Monday on social media. She says, “It’s time now for me to close the book.”

She tapped her gavel and said her courtroom is “in permanent recess.” She signed the letter while on camera.

In recent years, Evans presided over high-profile cases, including the murder trial of Robert Bashara and the assault trial of Inkster Officer William Melendez.

In April, WXYZ-TV reported that Evans appeared late to work, left early and sometimes failed to show up at the Frank Murphy courthouse. She denied some allegations and said her attendance wasn’t much different than the performance of other judges.