96°F
weather icon Clear

Michigan jurors hear confession in ‘nuisance’ neighbor’s death

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — A western Michigan man told police that he fatally shot a neighbor while she cleared snow on the day after Christmas last year, saying she was a “nuisance to the neighborhood.”

A video of Wendell Popejoy’s confession was played for jurors Friday in Ottawa County court. He’s charged with murder in the death of Sheila Bonge, whose unclothed body was put on a sled and found at the bottom of a hill a few days later.

“It was wrong,” Popejoy told detectives. “I just walked right up behind her and shot her.”

Police said Bonge, 59, was shot in the head while snowblowing an easement that she and neighbors used to get to their driveways in Crockery Township. The Grand Rapids Press quoted neighbors as saying Bonge would shoot snow into their driveways to aggravate them.

Popejoy, 64, told police that he regretted what happened and said the killing was a “snap decision.”

“She’s a nuisance to the neighborhood,” he said.

Popejoy said he burned Bonge’s clothes in a barrel after killing her.

Prosecutor Ron Frantz said Popejoy’s acts were premediated and meet the definition of first-degree murder. But defense attorney Jeff Kortes said Popejoy snapped after years of harassment. He hopes to persuade jurors to choose a lesser offense. The trial will resume next week.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Turkey objects to NATO talks with Finland, Sweden

NATO envoys failed to reach a consensus on Wednesday about whether to start membership talks with Finland and Sweden, diplomats said.

Interrogation, uncertainty for soldiers abandoning Mariupol

Russia said Wednesday that nearly 1,000 Ukrainian troops at a giant steelworks in Mariupol have surrendered, abandoning their dogged defense of a site that became a symbol of their country’s resistance.

 
COVID booster shot for healthy kids ages 5 to 11 OK’d by FDA

U.S. regulators on Tuesday authorized a COVID-19 booster shot for healthy 5- to 11-year-olds, hoping an extra vaccine dose will enhance their protection as infections once again creep upward.

Ukraine working to pull last fighters from Mariupol mill

Hundreds of Ukrainian fighters defending the last holdout in Mariupol were evacuated to areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists and officials worked Tuesday to get the rest out.

Deal reached to reopen baby formula plant, company says

The Food and Drug Administration, which has been investigating safety concerns at its Sturgis, Michigan, plant since early this year.