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Death penalty option dropped for Mishawaka man charged in triple murder

Two of the victims in the murder // WSBT 22 photo

A major update surrounding the Mishawaka man twice convicted of killing his wife, her ex-husband and their 10-year-old son. According to court documents, representatives of the victims have asked the state to stop seeking the death penalty, and on Friday morning the judge approved dropping it as a sentencing option.

Instead the prosecution will ask for a sentence of life in prison without parole. Court records show the prosecution clearly feels the death penalty portion of the case is a complicating factor moving forward.

They base that on the most recent federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said, in part, "[T]his was a murder case--indeed one in which the death penalty was being sought--and so the defendant's interest in the evidence was at its zenith."

Read the court documents here.

Wayne Kubsch was convicted twice of killing his wife Beth, her ex-husband Aaron Milewski and their ten-year old son Rick Milewski.

All three were found stabbed to death, the father and son both shot in the head inside of Kubsch's Mishawaka home.

Both times Kubsch was convicted, he was sentenced to death, but both convictions were overturned on appeal.

Now the prosecutor's office is preparing for trial number three in 2019.

Family

The family of the victims told WSBT 22, "I believe he deserves the death penalty, but I don't believe it would ever happen in the state of Indiana."

Beth's mother Diane Mauk and other family members estimate they've spent thousands of hours in a courtroom.

"That’s all I can do for them at this time. They’re family. They’ll always be with us,” said Mauk.

Mauk says she's ready for it all to be over.

That's why the St. Joseph County prosecutor has filed to drop the death penalty for case number 3.

“It became clear that some of the additional scrutiny that this case has received from higher courts has been largely due to death penalty issues, not guilt or innocence issues," said Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Fronk.

The prosecutor says the families of all victims were involved in the decision.

Diane Mauk says she's comfortable with Kubsch serving life in prison without parole.

“I truly believe he deserves to die, but I also believe after 20 years my family deserves to have peace and justice in some way that we can live with," said Mauk. "I won’t be here in 15 years, very doubtful. I don’t want my kids, and especially Beth’s son Anthony to have to go through all this without me.”

The latest trial is set for February.


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