Man convicted in fatal shooting at Wausau cemetery sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility of parole

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 8:10 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The 67-year-old man was convicted of shooting three people at a Wausau cemetery, killing one in 2019 was sentenced to life in prison without the eligibility of parole on Tuesday morning. Henry West was scheduled to be sentenced in May but on the day of the sentencing, requested a new attorney. The request postponed the sentencing.

In February, West pleaded no contest to five of his 17 charges. As a result, he was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and two counts of arson. As a result, 12 other charges were dismissed but will be considered during his sentencing hearing.

West was arrested after three people were shot at Pine Grove Cemetery in Wausau on Oct. 3, 2019. Patricia Grimm, 52, of Wausau, was shot and killed. She was the General Manager at Pine Grove Cemetery. William Buhse, then 60, of Wausau, was in critical condition and suffered life-long injuries. He is the cemetery’s foreman. Rosemelia Short, then 70, of Wausau, was treated for injuries following the shooting. Short was related to a cemetery employee.

Judge Falstad said presentence investigator said West’s actions were the result of ongoing resentment toward the people he believed wronged him. During the sentencing hearing, West said he was sorry and does take responsibility for his acts.

Investigators said he was in the midst of eviction from his apartment on Fullmer Street in Schofield and was still upset about being fired from the cemetery several years prior.

West lived at 117 Fullmer Street in Schofield, where he was convicted of setting fire to a garage on the same day of the shootings. He also tampered with the gas line and laid enough makeshift explosives that police estimated hundreds could have been killed in a resulting explosion.

Court documents state a maintenance man for the apartment complex said West had made comments about not liking the management at Fullmer Street apartments, and had also made comments about being very upset and making threats against cemetery management after his firing from Pine Grove Cemetery. The apartment complex manager said that once the eviction process was finalized, West had said he would “make the news big time”.

During the sentencing hearing, Assistant District Attorney Rory McGarry said West has a criminal history dating back to 1972. McGarry said the three victims were going about their day when they were ambushed by West on Oct. 3.

Patty Grimm’s sister spoke during the sentencing. She asked Judge Jill Falstad for the maximum punishment. “My sister will never walk free again, and I don’t think he should either.”

“The court does think it’s fair to characterize what he did there [Pine Grove Cemetery] as an ambush,” said Judge Jill Falstad. Judge Falstad said Patty Grimm had been shot six times.

“Based on the nature of these crimes, their motivation, their execution... the court give must give great weight to the protection of the public in determining an appropriate sentence,” said Judge Falstad before sentencing West to life in prison without the eligibility of parole. In Wisconsin, a conviction for first-degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory life sentence.

Henry West requested the maximum sentence for himself.

“I think you should sentence me to the maximum time in jail,” said West.

Victims’ families were relieved. In court, on Tuesday they spoke about their fears of what he’d do if he got out of prison.

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