Kemia Hassel gets life in prison for Army sergeant husband's murder

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) When given the chance, Kemia Hassel said nothing to the family of Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III, a Berrien County soldier and Kemia Hassel's husband.

Kemia Hassel was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole for the premeditated murder of her 23-year-old husband.

Tyrone Hassel III's parents say they weren’t surprised Kemia Hassel did not address the family, and now they want her to spend the rest of her days thinking about the man she took away.

“How could you?" asked Lashanda Jones, Tyrone Hassel III's mother. "How could you take the life of a man that gave you his last name? Hassel. A last name that you didn’t deserve to have."

Questions were mixed with tears inside a Berrien County courtroom. At the lectern, Jones spoke directly to her son's wife.

“I hope every time you close your eyes, my son taps you on your shoulders and smiles," Jones said. "Just to remind you that his life is not over, because he is still living in God, and you will be living in hell until the day you die.”

In addition to the murder sentencing, Kemia Hassel received life with the possibility of parole for conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder. The ruling of the primary charge overturns any chance for parole.

A jury found Kemia Hassel guilty in July.

“Ms. Hassel, the road to redemption is long and arduous, and you will spend the rest of your life walking it," Judge Angela Pasula said.

Kemia Hassel admitted to police to helping plan the grisly New Year’s Eve shooting of her husband with her then-boyfriend, Jeremy Cuellar.

Tyrone Hassel III’s death benefits totaled more than $400,000.

“For you to say 'I do' and not to love him is really heartbreaking," Tyrone Hassel Jr., the victim's father, told Kemia Hassel in court.

Hassel Jr. called the murder the "ultimate betrayal."

But now, Hassel III's parents are focused on the best in their son.

“He excelled so much," Hassel Jr. said.

“Very quickly," Jones added.

“In everything," Hassel, Jr. continued. "And I never got a chance to tell him, but I really didn’t think I could beat him in basketball anymore.”

They will also be sure to tell Hassel III’s 2-year-old son, Tyrone Hassel IV, about his father.

“[Hassel IV] can do anything that he puts his mind to. He can do it. And I just want him to know that he had an amazing father.”

Michigan does not have the death penalty.

Kemia Hassel can appeal her conviction. Her lawyer, Chris Kessel, told 16 News Now's Kim Shine Thursday that she understands the gravity of the situation.

Kemia Hassel will get 230 days' credit for time served.

She also shares responsibility for paying $2,326 in restitution to Hassel III's family with her co-conspirator, Cuellar.

Earlier this month, Cuellar accepted a deal to plead guilty in exchange for a minimum of 65 years in prison. He returns to court for sentencing Sept. 23.


Jeremy Cuellar and Kemia Hassel