Woman Gets 3.5 Years Prison in Murder for Hire Case

By: Team Coverage Email
By: Team Coverage Email
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The Merrill woman convicted of attempting to hire to kill her fiance will spend three and half years in prison followed by four years extended supervision. Jessica Strom, 33, reached a plea deal with prosecutors in May, avoiding a jury trial. Strom was convicted of conspiracy to commit 1st degree intentional homicide.

Court documents say she offered to pay a man $1,000 and sex to shoot and kill her fiancé, John Schellpfeffer--- an area attorney. According to the criminal complaint, she told a witness she had been thinking about killing Schellpfeffer for the past two years.

During the two-and-half-hour sentencing two of Strom's close friends described her as loving, caring mother. Strom's sister and a jail chaplin also provided character statements during the sentencing hearing.

Vilas County Judge Neal Nielsen said based on the fact both Strom and the victim stated they still had love for each other. Judge Nielsen told Strom he believed neither one of them knew what love was and said in terms of relationships, "You two choose the worst possible combination."

Schellpfeffer did not testify during Tuesday's sentencing.

The strained relationship between the two didn't start with this case. Newschannel 7 obtained old court documents detailing their history. Between the two there are 12 court cases including five restraining orders.

In a letter she sent to a judge in September 2013, Jessica Strom said the catalyst for all of the trouble began in late summer 2008 when she said Schellpfeffer hit her upper cheek bone giving her a black eye. She said this happened while he was driving and he "didn't like all the things she had to say to him at 2 a.m."

Strom reportedly wrote the letter because she owed the court fees totally $1,038.20 from a case in April 2013 where she was found guilty of disorderly conduct while trespassing on Schellpfeffer's property. She was also charged with criminal damage to property as she broke a light fixture.

Schellpfeffer filed for a temporary restraining order and wrote in the request that "she has been arrested many times for causing harm to me and my property and each time she does it, she lies to law enforcement to get out of trouble."

In the letter, Strom wrote Schellpfeller had promised her he would pay the court cost from this incident and write a letter to the District Attorney if she would drop the restraining order she had on him. She said though he did write the letter, he did not pay the court costs and later decided he wouldn't unless Strom "mow an acre and a half lawn for $25 each time or married to him."

She said she was just looking to have her finances restored as promised. She also said in another case, Schellfpeffer proposed to her in court with a $3,200 ring he got on Amazon. She did not answer and said she thinks it was just a ploy to get her to drop another restraining order.

Strom will receive credit for 184 days already spent in jail.

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