Family Crimes

Wisconsin Man Blew Up His House To Cover Up Wife's Murder

The wife, Lee Anne Pirus, was found dead from a gunshot wound, badly decomposed and covered in rubble.

His plan blew up in his face.

A Wisconsin man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife and blowing up their house in hopes of covering up the crime.

Steven Pirus, 60, pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree intentional homicide, according to WISC in Madison. His wife, 50-year-old Lee Anne Pirus, was found dead from a gunshot wound, badly decomposed and covered in rubble.

Pirus confessed to loosening a gas line to a dryer in the house to cause the explosion. His wife's body was found two days later in the wreckage.

There is still some contention as to when and why Pirus killed his wife. He eventually admitted to shooting her but gave multiple explanations for her death. 

When Lee Anne Pirus' dead body was found in the rubble on September 13 last year, it was in an advanced state of decay, leading investigators to believe she'd been dead for weeks or even months, according to a complaint cited by Madison.com.

At first, Pirus claimed his wife had killed herself and he blew up the house to cover up her suicide.

Then he changed his story to say he came home one night to find her crying, saying she wanted to die to alleviate her anxiety and depression and wanted his help to do it.

He claimed she begged for half an hour before he gave in and shot her in the head.  

“She finally wore me down and she just kept begging and begging and pleading with me to do that,” he said, according to the complaint. “And then she gave me the gun and I shot her.”

The initial complaint placed the murder at sometime between April and September 2017. But amended court documents filed Monday said she might have been killed as early as March. 

The explosion had repercussions around the neighborhood, as some nearby homes were damaged. Four of Pirus' five pets were also killed in the blast. Through the investigation, police discovered Pirus had been communicating daily with a Russian woman named "Olga." She had been planning to come to the United States and they were going to get married. Police found out about Olga because they noticed she was the wallpaper for Pirus' phone.

As part of his plea deal, eight other charges against Pirus were dropped, including arson, five counts of animal mistreatment, and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. But the charges can be reconsidered when the judge decides if Pirus will ever be eligible for parole.

[Photo: Madison Police Department]

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