Crimes of Passion

Michigan Inmate Gets Xbox Privileges For Showing Authorities Where He Buried Wife's Body

Douglas Stewart is serving a life sentence for the 2010 murder of his wife Venus.

A Michigan man serving a life sentence for the 2010 murder of his estranged wife has finally revealed to authorities where he buried the body — in exchange for getting to play Xbox behind bars.

Inmate Douglas Stewart, 37, led investigators to a wooded area in Kalamazoo County, to show them where he buried Venus Stewart, 32, eight years ago, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Convicted of killing her in 2011, her remains were never found, until this week.

“He really showed no emotion — he was pretty matter-of-fact," St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough told the newspaper. "He walked the detectives right to where it was and there it was."

Stewart had left two stumps at the burial site as a landmark for him to remember.

"I knew I couldn't forget where she was," he told WWMT-TV, a local station based in western Michigan.

Doug Stewart was living in Virginia when his estranged wife disappeared in April 2010 from her parents' home in Michigan. She had moved after accusing her husband of domestic violence and molesting their daughter, according to police reports.

Doug Stewart is housed in a veterans unit at the Saginaw Correctional facility that sometimes offers special incentives.

He requested multiple perks, most of which were denied, but prison staff approved the Xbox request because they were already exploring the idea, said Chris Gautz, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The gaming console was donated and is available to all members of the housing unit, but it isn't connected to the internet and inmates can't access violent games, Gautz said.

Doug Stewart was convicted of first-degree murder in 2011, based largely on the testimony of Ricky Spencer. Spencer told authorities that he had been persuaded to impersonate Doug Stewart while the man drove to Michigan.

Authorities have been visiting with Stewart annually since his sentencing to try and get information about the body's location.

"The criminal portion has been closed. We just kept at it to help find closure for Venus' family," said Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Todd Peterson.

Stewart had long maintained that he hadn't been involved in the killing, but said things changed when his sister began to reconcile with his wife's family. He said he hopes to make amends with the family.

"I let them know I didn't want this burden on the family or even selfishly myself. I didn't want it anymore," he said. "It's a horrible pain knowing you're hurting people. Even beyond the crime you committed."

Tests are being conducted on the remains, but authorities say they are confident they have found Venus Stewart.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

[Photo: Michigan Department of Corrections]

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