ALPENA - An Ossineke man implicated in the death of 48-year-old Jeffrey Mousseau in January will serve 15 years in prison, but no less than five years, for involuntary manslaughter and assault with intent to do great bodily harm.
Twenty-seven-year-old Steven Wilson was sentenced in Alpena County Circuit Court on Monday after pleading no contest to the charges in June. Prosecutor Ed Black said Wilson struck Mousseau, his roommate, "at least 20 times with his fists and elbows" at their home on Jan. 8 over a dispute about rent money, and an autopsy confirmed that Mousseau died some time the following day from blunt force trauma to the head.
Before pronouncing the sentence, Judge Michael Mack agreed to a request by defense attorney Dan White to strike from the record a suggestion that Wilson had used a weapon, as no evidence proved that allegation. Wilson's only words in his own defense were, "I am very sorry for all that has happened," and White reminded Mack that Wilson had no weapon or murderous intent.
"My client caused these people to be here in this grieving state, so he stands here today ready to accept your punishment," he said. "Neither Mr. Mousseau nor my client knew what my client had done. They ended up hugging each other in some sort of reconciliation. Mr. Mousseau refused further medical attention and then kind of went on with his life, but only for a day and a half, until the injury that my client inflicted on Mr. Mousseau resulted in his death."
Judy Makowski, the victim's sister, asked Mack to impose the maximum sentence on Wilson for what she believed were insufficient charges.
"(Wilson) may say that he didn't use a weapon. I heard he did," she said. "You told some people that you were going to kill Jeff, and then you killed him."
Black summarized Wilson's record - which includes aggravated assault in 2005, an assault felony in 2009, manslaughter in January, and another domestic violence incident in June - and closed with a plea for precedent-setting justice.
"The court can't bring back a life, but it can ... impose punishment to show others what will happen if they act in a like fashion," he said. "Just because he didn't know that (Mousseau's death) was going to happen in this case doesn't mean he shouldn't be punished for that."
Wilson was immediately taken into custody with $1,615.34 restitution reserved for 30 days.
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5693.