JONESBORO, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man who rigged a shotgun to a rope attached to the door of a shed on his property in 2018 has been convicted of first-degree murder in the death of another man who tried to enter.
A Union County jury convicted William Wasmund, 48, Thursday of both first-degree murder and aggravated battery after he was charged earlier this year for the death of Jeff Spicer, The Southern Illinoisan reported.
Testimony during the trial showed that a man who lived nearby found Spicer deceased Sept. 16, 2018, on Wasmund's property.
Wasmund, of Chester, set up the booby-trapped shotgun, which fired and struck Spicer when he tried to enter the shed, according to prosecutors.
Wasmund's defense argued that he did not set the gun, but had frequently griped of theft on the property and highlighted evidence to suggest Spicer went there to steal.
Special Prosecutor Matt Goetten contended it didn't matter so much why Wasmund set up the gun to fire, but that he did and it ultimately killed someone. One of the state's primary witnesses said that he was present the day Wasmund set up the booby-trapped shotgun. The witness testified that Wasmund told him about it as he was loading things from the shed into his truck and the witness told several people about the trap and his concerns.
"That spring gun was the cause of death," Goetten said.
Thomas Mansfield, Wasmund's defense attorney, argued that Spicer's actions are what led to his own death, noting he ignored the "no trespassing" sign, the nailed-shut shed door and the "caution do not enter" sign on the shed, then breaking the lock on the shed door.
"Those are the acts that caused his death," Mansfield said.
After the verdict, Spicer's family and friends held back tears and gave hugs.
Mansfield said the verdict shocked him and it will be appealed.
Wasmund is set to be sentenced Dec. 16.
Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com