Montana Man Convicted of Killing Estranged Wife

Joseph “Paul” DeWise shot two women, killing his wife and injuring her roommate, in January 2018 in Belgrade

By Associated Press

BOZEMAN — A Montana man accused of killing his estranged wife and critically injuring one of her roommates was convicted Tuesday of multiple charges.

Jurors in Gallatin County found Joseph “Paul” DeWise guilty of deliberate homicide in the January 2018 death of Lauren Walder DeWise and guilty of attempted deliberate homicide for shooting Ashley Van Hemert. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 4.

DeWise, who testified Monday and Tuesday, acknowledged he could track his wife’s phone and her car and that he made a recording on his phone saying he wouldn’t hit her if she stopped cheating on him.

But he said prosecutors had mischaracterized his statements throughout the investigation and “that’s why whoever did this is still out there,” the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

Joe DeWise, 17, testified earlier that he was with his father when he drove to Belgrade and shot the women. He also said his father ordered him to get rid of the murder weapon and he discarded it at a pond near their house, where it was located.

Natalie DeWise, 19, testified that her father confessed to killing Lauren DeWise when he woke her up to go to church the next morning. She also said her father called her from jail and asked her to convince her younger brother to confess.

Both children said they initially told police the story their father told them to — that they had stayed home and watched movies that evening and went to bed at 2 a.m.

Other witnesses testified to physical abuse in the relationship.

During closing arguments, Deputy Gallatin County Attorney Eric Kitzmiller reminded jurors that DeWise was able to recall confronting Lauren DeWise twice when he found her cheating, but “the night his wife is killed his memory is fuzzy? That defines common sense, ladies and gentlemen.”

Defense attorney Annie DeWolf told jurors the family was happy.

“There was no abuse,” she said.

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