A Fort Stewart soldier is at the Liberty County jail awaiting extradition to Michigan to face a murder charge of another Fort Stewart soldier in what authorities are calling a love triangle.
Jeremy Cuellar, 24, of Hinesville, appeared before Magistrate Angie Rogers in a courtroom located inside the Liberty County Jail at about 8:20 a.m. Tuesday for an extradition hearing. At the hearing, he waved his extradition rights and within the next few weeks will be picked up by officials from Michigan.
Cuellar was arrested last Friday at his home on Robin Hood Drive in Hinesville at about 10 p.m. without incident. Officers from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office made the arrest.
On Tuesday, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office detectives and members of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division searched Cuellar’s home. LCSO Detective Chris Reed said the department initiated the search warrant at the request of Michigan authorities.
Cuellar is accused of killing U.S. Army Sergeant Tyrone Hassel III of Fort Stewart on New Year's Eve outside of his father's home. It is alleged Hassel's wife, Kemia Hassel, and Cuellar were having an extramarital affair and plotted to kill Kemia's husband, Tyrone.
According to a press release by Michael J. Sepic, Berrien County Prosecuting Attorney:
“On New Year’s Eve at approximately 11 p.m., Tyrone Hassel III, 23, an active duty U.S. Army sergeant stationed at Fort Stewart, was shot and killed outside his father’s home on Colfax Avenue in St. Joseph Township. Tyrone Hassel and his wife, Kemia Hassel, 22, who lives in Allenhurst and is also an active duty U.S. Army soldier stationed at Fort Stewart, were residing on Colfax Avenue while on leave over the holidays with their 1-year old child. Tyrone Hassel had been at a family gathering on Lincoln Street in the city of Benton Harbor during the evening hours. He returned to the Colfax Avenue home around 11 p.m. to bring Kemia some food from the family gathering. After leaving her the food, he went to his pickup truck in the driveway to return to Lincoln Street when he was confronted by an assailant who shot and killed him.”
According to the release, investigators explored numerous leads before receiving information from Fort Stewart.
An investigation by the Army CID unit at Fort Stewart, and follow-up investigations by investigators in Berrien County, including officers from the St. Joseph Township Police Department, the Berrien County Homicide Task Force and the Michigan State Police, has led to murder charges against Kemia Hassel and Jeremy Cuellar, according to the prosecutor’s office.
“It is alleged Cuellar travelled from Fort Stewart to Chicago several days prior to Dec. 31, 2018, waited for directions from Kemia Hassel to ambush Tyrone, and did so finally on New Year’s Eve,” states the prosecutor’s release. “The motive for the two to plot Sgt. Hassel’s death may have been to continue their relationship and reap the Army’s death benefit from his murder.”
“Kemia Hassel is charged with first degree premeditated murder, a life offense without the possibility of parole. Ms. Hassel is in the Berrien County jail. At her arraignment today her bond was set at $2,500,000 with GPS tether. A pre-exam conference is set for Wednesday, January 23, 2019 and a preliminary exam hearing set for Tuesday, January 29, 2019, both at 8:30 a.m.,” Sepic stated in the release.
Cuellar was also charged with first degree premeditated murder and with felony firearm, a 2 -year consecutive sentence, according to the prosecutor.
ABC57 News of South Bend, Ind., contributed information and photos for this story.