Madison Man Pleads Guilty in Shooting Death of Fiance
Joseph Michael Schmitz, 48, Madison, South Dakota, has pled guilty to manslaughter, punishable by up to life imprisonment in the state penitentiary and/or $50,000 fine, according to the Attorney General's Office.
The courts alleged that on April 27, 2016, Schmitz had an argument with the victim. Schmitz initially called the police to report an altercation where he claimed his fiance, 46-year-old Corina Booth, had attacked him and he shot her "in the front" in self-defense.
After authorities investigated further, charges were upgraded to first-degree murder. Booth had been shot five times.
During his initial court appearance on May 2, 2016, several people testified that they were concerned Schmitz would harm them if he were to be released on bond. One of those who testified said he was in a romantic relationship with Booth. An in-depth FBI background check revealed that Schmitz had previously used an alias, Michael Beuthling. Most of the crimes alleged to have been committed under that name were dropped.
As part of the plea, Schmitz will be sentenced in June of 2019. Schmitz will be required to pay court costs, transcript costs, court-appointed attorney fees, expert fees, private investigator fees, testing fees, and any other costs of prosecution allowed by law as directed by the Court at sentencing.