Warrants: Plot to kill army sergeant took shape over nearly 2 weeks

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ST. JOSEPH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WNDU) - The murder of an Army sergeant in Berrien County on New Year's Eve was apparently plotted via the social media app Snapchat, and the murderer was supposed to go through with it several times over a nearly two-week period before the sergeant was actually killed.

Jeremy Cuellar and Kemia Hassel

The new details are revealed in the official complaint and warrants against the man who allegedly pulled the trigger and the victim's wife, who allegedly plotted the homicide.

Kemia Hassel reportedly admitted to police that she and her lover, Jeremy Cuellar, planned to murder her husband, Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III, who was gunned down Dec. 31 outside his parents' home.

An anonymous tipster reportedly was the first to suggest police look at Tyrone Hassel's wife as a possible suspect. She was brought in for questioning Jan. 11 and initially denied any involvement in her husband's murder.

Then, Kemia Hassel submitted to a polygraph test, which made "clear she was not being truthful regarding her involvement in the murder of her husband." She then "almost immediately began to admit her involvement," according to the complaint and warrant.

Kemia Hassel said Cuellar was in Benton Harbor four different times between Dec. 19 and Dec. 31 while she and the victim were in Michigan on holiday leave. Each time Cuellar was in town, the couple allegedly planned for him to murder the victim.

On New Year's Eve, Kemia Hassel said Cuellar was supposed to kill Tyrone Hassel when he returned home from a trip to Walmart, but that didn't happen because someone was with him.

Kemia Hassel also reportedly said Cuellar had mixed feelings about the planned killing, but she demanded it because she didn't want Tyrone Hassel to travel back to their home in Georgia in the new year.

The warrant complaint also suggests part of Kemia Hassel's motive for the murder was that Tyrone Hassel had agreed to let his sister move in with them in Georgia, a plan Kemia Hassel reportedly did not like.

Before the killing, Kemia Hassel allegedly helped lure her husband to the home, asking him to bring home plates of food for her and her son from the family gathering where he was before the murder. She then reportedly called Cuellar to tell him Tyrone Hassel would be returning.

Two people interviewed at Fort Stewart in Georgia by Army Criminal Investigations special agents reportedly said they knew of a romantic relationship between Kemia Hassel and Cuellar that began when the pair were stationed in South Korea. One of the people interviewed reportedly said Cuellar admitted to the murder. Cuellar allegedly told the fellow soldier he could see Tyrone Hassel still breathing after shooting him in the head, then shooting him again "to confirm the kill."

The warrant also states that Cuellar's car was recorded in Benton Harbor on the night of the murder, suggesting he was in the immediate area within three hours of the shooting.

Both suspects face premeditated murder charges.

Kemia Hassel returns to court Tuesday. Cuellar is awaiting extradition from Georgia.