Heyer gets life prison sentence
Thursday, August 22, 2013 7:00 PM
MARINETTE - Nearly a year after he fatally shot his defenseless ex-girlfriend, a rural Crivitz man was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility for parole.
Richard B. Heyer is lead into Marinette County Circuit Court Branch 1 Thursday for his sentencing hearing. Judge David Miron sentenced Heyer to life in prison with no possibility for parole for last summer’s murder of his ex-girlfriend Ann Schueller at a Wausaukee convenience store.
Richard B. Heyer, 56, received the sentence Thursday from Judge Dave Miron in Marinette County Circuit Branch 1. In April, Heyer pleaded no contest to first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 51-year-old Ann Schueller. A second count of felon in possession of a firearm was dismissed, but was read in for sentencing.
Heyer shot Schueller on Aug. 26 of last year as she worked at the Citgo Convenience Station in Wausaukee. He then turned the .30-.30 caliber rifle on himself, but after only 10 days in a hospital, he was healthy enough to be transported to the Marinette County Jail.
Heyer's attorney, Jeffrey Jazgar of Green Bay, argued that the defendant should be sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole in 20 years. He said the community would be safe because a parole board would have to deem Heyer fit to rejoin society.
"What we're asking today is that at age 76, Mr. Heyer be granted the opportunity to petition for parole," Jazgar said. "That's our request today. I think it's appropriate."
Heyer gave an emotional statement, in which he apologized to the victim's family, his family, the court and the community. He blamed his actions for a mixture of depression medications he was taking at the time.
"I have no logical explanation for my conduct," Heyer said, adding that he's always been a productive member of society with a minimal criminal record (one juvenile arrest and one marijuana manufacturing arrest)."
Judge Miron and District Attorney Allen Brey weren't buying Heyer's plea for leniency.
"A case like this doesn't affect just you, Mr. Heyer," Miron said. "Look around here and see all the people who have been affected, starting with Ms. Schueller's family. ... When you made the decisions that you've made, you forever changed the lives of countless people, not just yours and Ms. Schueller's."
The judge said this was not a spur-of-the-moment crime as Heyer went to the measure of locating a rifle, buying ammunition, driving from Crivitz to Wausaukee, loading the rifle and then shooting Schueller in the back as she tried to duck for cover behind the service counter of the convenience store.
"It's clear to me that you planned this in advance," he said. "You've had a lot of time to think about what you were doing. ... You had hours to think about this and any step of the way you could have said 'this is wrong, no I'm not going to do this.' But yet you went through with this."
Brey agreed, "There was so much plotting and planning and setting this thing up. My God, Ann Schueller just goes to work one day and gets killed at work and he took over a month to set up what he did. This wasn't a crime of passion or the guy was drunk."
Miron and Brey both stated Heyer appeared to be getting his affairs in order prior to the shooting, including squaring up financial responsibilities with an ex-wife, giving her a dog they had fought over and telling family members that he loved them.
Both also believe that Heyer's contention that prescription drugs were at fault are baseless. "Doctors have examined you and that's gone nowhere," Miron said. "There's no basis in that to state in any way that is the reason for this incident. The reason this happened ... is because you made it happen."
After the sentencing, Brey said, "I'm tired of hearing him whine about the pills he was on. He's got to admit it, he's a mean person, he did it and by God he got his comeuppance."
The judge said although Heyer's criminal record is minimal, he has a long history of violent relationships with women. He said in 1982, Heyer held his wife at the time captive, cut the phone lines and put a gun to her head. He said Heyer had an incident with another ex-girlfriend in which he grabbed the woman's daughter by the throat and held her up against a wall.
Referring to the Schueller murder, Miron said, "Perhaps you couldn't stand to be rejected by yet another woman and this was the way you were going to resolve that situation."
Brey also mentioned the defendant's history with women. "For whatever reason, when it comes to women, Mr. Heyer just feels like he's got to hit them, belittle them, bully them."
Miron also believes Heyer is not remorseful.
"I think the remorse you're feeling is more for yourself and the fact that you know are going to have pay the penalty for your actions," he said.
Brey said the fact that Heyer shot Schueller in cold blood with one "kill shot" but couldn't execute a similar shot on himself moments later speaks volumes about his personality.
"I just think Mr. Heyer's got a yellow streak a mile wide down his back," he said. "He's a guy that's about me all the time, 100 percent what's in it for me and I don't really care about anybody else. I think he's the kind of guy that if it just isn't his way, you better look out, because he's going to get even with you."
No family members for Heyer or Schueller spoke Thursday but Brey made it clear that Schueller's family didn't want restitution or funeral expenses - they simply wanted Heyer out of their lives and the matter behind them.
"I'm very happy with the sentence," the DA said. "I'm sure Ann's family is happy. This is exactly what they wanted. They can have some closure now. He had it coming. He earned it and he got it. I've got no problem paying to keep that guy locked up."
Brey said that through family members he got to know the victim in a sense and she was a remarkable woman.
"I feel terrible for Ann Schueller and her family," he said. "She was such a pleasant lady. She was just so nice to all the customers that came in. She liked to smile and everybody liked her. She was a bubbly person. To lose her life because she broke off a relationship with this guy. This is utterly senseless."
Brey praised medical personnel and law enforcement - in particular Marinette County Sheriff's Department detectives Dan Miller and Todd Baldwin - for their work.