SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A Mishawaka man who has twice been sentenced to death today got ‘life.’
It was a compromise made 21 years after the fact to bring closure to relatives of murder victims Beth Kubsch, Rick Milewski and 11-year-old Aaron Milewski.
For more than 20 years, Wayne Kubsch has been behind bars for that crime. On Friday, the chance of Kubsch ever getting out of prison vanished.
“Originally, it was a death penalty case. It was a death penalty case the second time. We anticipated it was going to be a death penalty case the third time,” St. Joseph County Prosecutor Kenneth Cotter said. “The family actually asked us to take the death penalty off.”
Kubsch, 51, was convicted and sentenced to death for the multiple Mishawaka murders in 2000, and then again in 2005, but as his third death penalty trial was set to start, the thought of fighting a single day longer became unbearably unappealing for the family.
“I'm 75 years old. I'll soon be 76. And we decided that the best thing would be life in prison, because that way we don't have all the appeals. We don't have all this to go through and the kids don't have to deal with this constantly,” said Diane Mauk, the mother of victim Beth Kubsch.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Tamashasky said that the family frequently attended court hearings connected to the case.
“They were in Illinois and Chicago, they were in Indianapolis for those, they were here for the PCR," he said. "For the family, this gives them the closure that they’ve so desperately needed for 20 years.”
Cotter added, “They wanted to remember their loved ones, not remember him every time he came back with another appeal.”
So, on Friday, Wayne Kubsch went away for good. A judge accepted his guilty plea on two of the murder counts and sentenced Kubsh to life in prison without parole.
Kubsch was given credit for having already served 7,381 days in custody.
Kubsch agreed to waive his right to appeal the sentence, leaving him no conceivable reason to have to return to court.
At the sentencing, only one relative of the victims addressed Kubsch in court, calling him a “cold-blooded killer.”
Kubsch was offered an opportunity to address the court but replied with a simple “no.”
“For 16 years, he was on death row. He had everything he wanted on death row. I mean he was where nobody could really bother him,” Mauk said.
Indiana has not executed a death row inmate since December of 2009. The last St. Joseph County man to be executed by the State of Indiana was Alan Matheney in 2005 after he spent 15 years on death row.
Greed was said to be the motive for the crimes of Wayne Kubsch, who had fallen behind on mortgage and tax payments for his rental properties.
According to Mauk, Beth and Wayne had "been together seven years and had been married nine months and I believe that when he decided to get married that he was probably planning all this.”
Mauk said she had lunch with Beth on the Wednesday before Beth died and said the couple was planning to have a child.
“They had gone to a fertilization doctor that day and gotten prescriptions, and this was going to cost them $10,000, and he had always told her he had that in a special account,” Mauk recalled.
Court documents say Kubsch had taken out a $575,000 life insurance policy on his wife two months before her murder.