Judge Nicholas McNamara sentenced Steven Pirus to live in prison without parole for killing his wife and attempting to hide her murder by blowing up their house last September.
"You've earned the right to die in prison," the judge said.
Watch 27 News at 5 and 6 for more on today's hearing.
MADISON (WKOW) – Steven Pirus, the Madison man accused of blowing up his home to hide the murder of his wife, will be sentenced today in Dane County Circuit Court.
The sentencing hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on WKOW.com, the 27 News Now app and 27 News on Facebook.
Pirus pleaded guilty during a court hearing May 30, The guilty plea carries a sentence of life in prison. The remainder of the counts were dismissed, but entered into the record.
During the May plea hearing, Judge Nicholas McNamara asked Pirus what he did."I killed my wife, your honor," Pirus said.
Prosecutors say Pirus, 59, disconnected the gas line to the dryer, which caused the explosion Sept. 13, 2017. They say he was attempting to hide the murder of his wife, Lee Anne, 50, whose body could have been in the home at 7806 Stratton Way "for weeks, if not months," according to Madison Police Chief Mike Koval.
"The defendant admitted to loosening the gas lines in his home to the dryer and extinguishing the water heater pilot, so that the gas would keep going," Assistant Dane County District Attorney David Hart said during an earlier court hearing.A probable cause affidavit states Pirus told investigators he killed his wife sometime between July 30 and Aug. 12. Authorities say the condition of the body when found did not permit investigators to pinpoint a time of death. Investigators say Pirus shot his wife in the head.
"It was a hellacious explosion in a densely populated neighborhood. We know at least two homes suffered property damage, not to mention how many people would have been home at the time," Koval says.The probable cause affidavit states Pirus told investigators his wife "...asked him to kill her."
Pirus originally told investigators after the explosion he did not know where his wife was; then maintained she committed suicide; then told detectives she "begged" for his help in ending her life over her depression.McNamara can consider the explosion Pirus created and the risks it presented to neighbors, as well as family pets Pirus killed in the explosion, when he sets a parole eligibility date for Pirus at a later court hearing.Pirus will be 80 by the time he serves the minimum, twenty prison years required before parole eligibility can even be considered.
At the hearing on parole eligibility, Pirus will be given the opportunity to address the court on his actions.
For more go to WKOW: http://www.wkow.com/story/38751266/2018/07/27/prius-expected-to-enter-guilty-pleas