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Man admits he is a ‘fool’ as he is sentenced to 65 years in prison for his role in murder of lover’s husband, an Army sergeant

2019-09-24

A 25-year-old man who pleaded guilty to killing his lover's husband, an Army sergeant, called himself a "fool" as he was sentenced to at least 65 years in prison.

Jeremy Cuellar had previously confessed to conspiring with Kemia Hassel in last year’s slaying of Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III, who was 23.

Hassell was killed while visiting family in Michigan on New Year’s Eve. A contrite Cuellar admitted he fell under Kemia Hassell’s spell during Monday’s sentencing at the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph.

“I want to apologize to the family again, sincerely. I was a fool for just taking her words and not really looking to see who he was,” Cuellar said in court, according to TV station WNDU. “... I also want to apologize to the Army. It was the best thing that happened to me. It was stupid, and that’s not me at all. I was raised right, I just had issues within my own demons, I know we all do. But what she was telling me, I opened up to her and she played on it. I shouldn’t have opened up to her.”

Cuellar and the Hassels were all soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia. Kemia Hassel is serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder.

It is believed the pair plotted the murder to collect Army death benefits and life insurance money.

Cuellar agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder, and as a result will not be eligible for parole until he is 90.

“It’s essentially a life sentence," prosecutor Steve Pierangeli said, according to MLive. “We weren’t going to accept anything less."

With News Wire Services