James Kuhns

James Kuhns pleaded guilty to an open murder charge in connection with the death of his fiance's violent death.

A man who was charged in connection with the violent death of his fiance's grandfather was found guilty of first-degree murder.

A judge handed down the ruling on Friday, Jan. 11 against James Kuhns for the murder of Leonard Hempel of Clare County.

Hempel’s body was found buried on his property weeks after his disappearance in April 2016.

Investigators say Hempel had been struck multiple times on the head with a hatchet and was buried in the backyard.

Kuhns and his fiance covered up Hempel’s death by lying to law enforcement, family, and friends during the search for him.

In June 2018, Kuhns pleaded guilty to an open murder charge and let a judge determine the degree of the crime.

Kuhn’s fiance, Angela Hempel, who is also facing an open murder charge was convicted in 2016 of being an accessory after the fact.

She’ll remain on probation until 2021.

A sentencing day has not been scheduled for Kuhn.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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