Updated: 07/22/2014 7:52 AM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart
A Shorewood woman charged with murdering her boyfriend and stuffing him in a freezer, pleaded guilty Monday in the middle of her trial, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
Jetaun Wheeler’s trial, on the count of second-degree intentional murder in the death of Eddie Frank Sole, 58, was about to begin its fourth day. Instead, she agreed to plead guilty to second-degree unintentional murder.
In opening statements last week, assistant Hennepin County Attorney Sarah Stennes highlighted details of Sole’s alleged beating at the end of July 2013, and when Wheeler went to a store to buy a chest freezer to allegedly hide Sole’s body.
Wheeler’s defense attorney said in her opening statement that Wheeler did buy the freezer but argued his death was unintentional and the result of self-defense during a fight, which happened between the couple and a third party. She said Wheeler used a closet rod as a weapon.
According to the complaint, the man's family contacted the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department Tuesday, Aug. 13, to report he was missing. They had expected him to arrive in Chicago Aug. 13, but he never showed up. They hadn't heard from him since July 31.
Police went with the man's brother to the home on Aug. 13. Wheeler told officers that she last saw her boyfriend Saturday, Aug. 3, around 11 a.m. She said she dropped him off at the Megabus stop in Minneapolis.
She said the man was going to Chicago, and she had not seen or heard from him since. She told police she did not have his phone number or address.
A friend of Wheeler's boyfriend told police he spoke to him July 31. Wheeler's boyfriend allegedly said he was having domestic trouble, and he was leaving for Chicago. The victim told his friend Wheeler had assaulted him the week before and that "she was crazy."
Officers returned to Wheeler's home Aug. 21, to execute a search warrant. During the search, investigators found two pieces of carpet rolled up under Wheeler's mattress. One piece was soaked with a "blood-like substance."
Officers found the man's body in a freezer in the garage. He was wrapped in plastic and duct tape. The freezer appeared to be new. Officers also found several bags of clothing and shoes. The apparel appeared to have blood-like stains.
Police arrested Wheeler after finding the man's body.
Her sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 21. Prosecutors will be seeking 180 months in prison, the maximum sentence allowed for the crime under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines.