Widow accused of plotting soldier husband’s ambush slaying in Michigan with her lover

Army Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III


By SOUTH BEND (IND.) TRIBUNE Published: January 15, 2019

ST. JOSEPH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Tribune News Service) — The New Year’s Eve shooting death of active-duty soldier Tyrone Hassel III, 23, was the result of a plot devised by his widow, Kemia Hassel, 22, and her reputed lover, Jeremy Cuellar, according to the Berrien County prosecutor’s office.

Kemia Hassel is charged with first-degree premeditated murder, a life offense without the possibility of parole, the prosecutor’s office announced Monday in a news release. Kemia Hassel is lodged in the Berrien County Jail.

At her arraignment on Monday, bail was set at $2.5 million.

Cuellar, 24, of Hinesville, Ga., also is charged with first-degree premeditated murder and with a felony firearm count. He is in custody in the Liberty County, Ga., jail and is awaiting extradition proceedings.

Tyrone Hassel III was shot dead about 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve outside his father’s house in St. Joseph Township.

Both Tyrone Hassel III and Kemia Hassel were active-duty military personnel stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga. They were staying at his father’s house during the holidays with their 1-year-old child, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Tyrone Hassel III had been at a family gathering on Dec. 31 and he returned to his father’s house about 11 p.m. to bring his wife some food from the gathering, according to the prosecutor’s office.

After leaving her the food, Hassel was walking toward his pickup in the driveway when he was shot and killed, the prosecutor said.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Kemia Hassel and Cuellar, also an active-duty Army soldier stationed at Fort Stewart, were in an extramarital relationship and together plotted to kill Tyrone Hassel. Cueller is suspected to have traveled from Fort Stewart to Chicago several days before Dec. 31 and to have awaited directions from Kemia Hassel in order to ambush Tyrone Hassel, and did so on New Year’s Eve.

The motive for plotting Tyrone Hassel’s death might have been to so the two could continue their relationship and receive an Army death benefit from his slaying, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Tyrone Hassel’s funeral was held Saturday at New Bethel Baptist Church in Benton Harbor.

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