Wife and lover could be charged with murder twice in killing of soldier
BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. – The two people accused of the murder of an active duty Army soldier in St. Joseph Township could face civilian and military murder charges. Kemia Hassel is accused of plotting the death of her husband, Tyrone Hassel III, with her alleged lover, Jeremey Cuellar. Cuellar is accused of shooting Hassel III on New Year’s eve. Tyrone Hassel, Kemia Hassel and Cuellar were all active duty soldiers on leave based out of Fort Stewart, Georgia.
“Article 2 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is a federal statute, a federal law, gives the military justice system jurisdiction over all active duty service members no matter where they are or what they’re doing.” John LaDue, attorney and former JAG Officer, said. LaDue also teaches military law at Notre Dame. “So, if you’re in the US, whether you’re at the base or home on leave, if you’re an active duty service member, the military justice system has jurisdiction over you. So, if you commit an offense, a crime, you can be tried by court martial within the military justice system.”
LaDue also says Double Jeopardy does not apply.
“The federal government and the state are separate sovereigns, so the 5th amendment double jeopardy clause is not going to be violated by those dual prosecutions. That said, dual prosecutions are rare.” He explained.
LaDue says the suspects will more than likely still face military punishment, depending on the outcome of the charges. They could face dishonorable discharges, loss of pay and rank and benefits. All of that can be done administratively without a court martial.
ABC57 reached out to Fort Stewart for more information on the suspects and to figure out if the military plans to pursue its own charges. A spokesperson sent the following statement:
"All three individuals involved in this situation, Sgt. Tyrone Hassel, his spouse Kemia Hassel, and Jeremy Cuellar, are members of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, GA. Both suspects are Specialists and 88Ms, motor transport operators. This incident remains under investigation, with both suspects currently incarcerated with civilian law enforcement agencies."