Jury in deliberations on Popejoy murder trial

Becky Vargo • Oct 15, 2018 at 12:50 PM

The jury is now deliberating in a neighbor versus neighbor murder trial.

Wendell Earl Popejoy, 64, is accused of killing his next-door neighbor, Sheila Bonge, 59, by shooting her in the head while she was snow blowing an easement driveway on Dec. 26, 2017.

Popejoy confessed to the shooting on the “spur of the moment.”

Prosecutor Ron Frantz told the jury in closing arguments that Popejoy had plenty of time to think about what he was doing.

He asked the jury to convict Popejoy of first-degree, premeditated murder.

Defense Attorney Jeffrey Kortes told the jury his client did not plan the murder and that it happened “in a blur,” according to his client.

Bonge’s body was discovered two days later buried under the snow down the hill behind Popejoy’s house.

Ottawa County Circuit Court Judge Karen Miedema earlier denied Kortes’ request for a directed verdict. She also denied his request to add manslaughter to the instructions for the jury.

The jury has been ordered to choose a verdict of not guilty, guilty to first-degree premeditated murder, or guilty to second-degree murder. For count two, possession of a firearm during the murder, the jury can choose guilty or not guilty.

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