MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A judge sentenced a Washington state soldier to two years' probation Wednesday as part of a plea deal after prosecutors accused her of helping her husband hide his half-brother's corpse in the Wisconsin woods.
Madison prosecutors charged Shannon Remus, a military police officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, in February with being party to hiding a corpse, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Detectives believe Remus' husband, Jeffrey Vogelsberg, beat Matthew Graville to death in the rental home they shared in Mazomanie last fall. They say Vogelsberg and the home's owner, Robert McCumber, buried Graville's body in the woods near the Wisconsin River.
According to court documents, Vogelsberg told investigators he showed Remus the grave and asked if anything seemed suspicious or out of place. Remus asked him if Graville was buried there and he replied: "the less you know, the better."
She denied to investigators Vogelsberg ever took her to the woods. But officials in Washington's Pierce County recorded a number of jail telephone conversations in which Vogelsberg allegedly told his wife the most she could be accused of doing was joining him in the woods to look for anything suspicious. He told her to keep her mouth shut and she agreed.
Remus' attorney, William Jones, brokered a plea bargain with prosecutors that called for Remus to plead guilty to two new misdemeanor obstruction charges. In exchange they agreed to hold the felony corpse count open and dismiss it if she completes two years of probation.
Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese approved the deal Wednesday and ordered Remus to serve the probation as well as nine months in jail. Online court records indicate her probation conditions include no contact with her husband or McCumber. Jones said Remus already has served more than seven months in jail, leaving her with more than a month to go.
An after-hours voicemail greeting at the Dane County district attorney's office wouldn't allow callers to leave messages.
Jones said in a telephone interview Remus, 27, was scared and faced a difficult choice of whether to report her spouse to police.
"It was hard for her," Jones said. "She's an intelligent young lady presented with difficult circumstances. I can't say what I would do. Knowing your spouse has done something horrible and then deciding what to do with it ... obviously, her life is still in shambles."
Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield, Lewis-McChord spokesman, said Wednesday that Remus is still considered an active-duty soldier but declined to speculate on her future.
Vogelsberg, 29, faces one count of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of hiding a corpse and one count of intimidating a witness. He's set to stand trial next month. His attorney, listed in online court records as David Karpe, didn't immediately return a message.
McCumber, 29, faces one felony count of hiding a corpse. His case is on hold pending the outcome of Vogelsberg's case.
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