Joseph Schmitz goes to ER before sentencing hearing

Local News

MADISON, SD (KELO) — The latest legal turn in the manslaughter case of Joseph Schmitz went through the emergency room Friday. An ER nurse examined Schmitz just before he was due in court to be sentenced for the 2016 killing of his longtime fiancée, Corina Booth. Prosecutors say Schmitz was only faking it and that his supposed medical emergency was just another ploy to delay his case.

Joseph Schmitz was much more subdued Friday in court than last week, when he interrupted the judge during a hearing over whether Schmitz could withdraw his guilty plea. The judge denied that request. So the plea stands, and along with it, the 15-year prison sentence that both sides agreed upon.

Joseph Schmitz entered the Lake County Courthouse in a wheelchair following his trip to the emergency room. The examining nurse said when Schmitz arrived in the ER, he wouldn’t open his eyes and described him as non-verbal. But the nurse testified she found no medical or mental problems with Schmitz that should prevent him from attending court.

During the sentencing phase of the hearing, prosecutors say that what happened back in 2016 was a worst-case outcome of domestic abuse that everybody fears.

Corina Booth’s brothers spoke in court calling Schmitz a “terrible human being,” adding they hope he suffers greatly while he’s in prison. Schmitz apologized to the family saying Booth’s death left a huge void in the world.

Prosecutors say Schmitz killed Booth at the couple’s Lake Madison home because he learned she was in a relationship with another man. Schmitz had claimed he shot Booth in self-defense.

In handing down his sentence, the judge referred to Schmitz’s trip to the ER as “shenanigans,” and another example of how he has failed to take responsibility for the death of his fiancée.

Schmitz will get credit for jail time he’s already served. Prosecutors say Schmitz will likely serve up to nine years of that 15 year sentence.

He’ll also facing hefty fines and restitution, including owing Lake County more than $450,000 in costs.  

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