Illinois man, 48, is convicted in booby-trap shotgun killing

An Illinois man who had a shotgun booby-trap that killed a neighbor last year was convicted on Thursday of murder and another charge, according to media reports.

A Union County jury found William Wasmund, 48, guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated battery in the death of Jeff Spicer, The Southern Illinoisian reported.

William Wasmund (Union County State's Attorney's Office via AP)

William Wasmund (Union County State’s Attorney’s Office via AP)

Prosecutors said Wasmund rigged the shotgun to a rope connected to the door of a shed on his property so the weapon would fire when the door was opened. The discharge killed Spicer as he tried to enter the shed, authorities said. A man who lived nearby found Spicer’s body on Wasmund’s property on Sept. 16, 2018,

Wasmund’s defense attorneys said their client had complained of thefts on his property and suggested Spicer was there to steal. Lawyer Thomas Mansfield argued Spicer caused his own death by ignoring “no trespassing” and “do not enter” signs and breaking the lock on the shed door, he said.

Special Prosecutor Matt Goetten said it didn’t matter why Wasmund set the gun to fire, only that he did so — something that ultimately cost Spicer his life.

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Wasmund is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 16. Mansfield said the verdict will be appealed.

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