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Minnesota man sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for killing grandparents

Gregory Scheel

 ST. CLOUD, Minn. – A Paynesville man was sentenced Thursday to two consecutive life sentences for intentionally killing his grandparents this spring at their home in Paynesville.

Gregory Allen Scheel, 34, will serve at least 60 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Scheel was convicted of killing Wilbert, 93, and Gloria Scheel, 80, on March 21 at the home the three shared in Paynesville.

Before she imposed the consecutive sentences, District Judge Mary Mahler heard from family and friends of the victims. They described the hurt they have experienced, and spoke about the kindness and generosity of the beloved couple.

“The whole city of Paynesville is grieving,’’ one person told the court in a victim impact statement, according to the St. Cloud Times.

Family and friends spoke of Gloria's laughter, Wilbert's smile and the activities they used to enjoy, such as baking and gardening, the Times reported. A child in the family also wrote a letter that was read in court. In it, the child said they loved life but wanted powers … "powers to bring people back to life."


Gregory Scheel was hunched over and cried during the hearing, according to the Times.

He had pleaded guilty Aug. 2 to two counts of first-degree intentional murder while committing domestic abuse.

A plea agreement reached at the time required that he serve consecutive sentences for the two counts. He will not be eligible for parole until he is 94 years old.  

On April 24, Scheel was indicted by a grand jury on multiple counts of murder in the first degree.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office determined thatWilbert Scheel died of asphyxiation from a plastic bag placed over his head and Gloria Scheel died of strangulation by ligature.

Scheel was taken into custody for the murders on March 22 in Kandiyohi County. He was found about a half-mile from where he had parked his grandparents’ Toyota Prius along Kandiyohi County Road 5 near Games Lake. The vehicle held the bodies of his grandparents, covered by a piece of carpet, and the car smelled of gasoline. Portions of the car’s interior were charred and covered in soot.

    Carolyn Lange

    A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

    (320) 894-9750