A Paynesville, Minn., man was sentenced Thursday to two life terms in prison for murdering the grandparents who took him into their home.
Gregory A. Scheel, 34, will serve the sentences consecutively and will not be eligible for parole for at least 60 years, said Ole Tvedten, chief of the criminal division in the Stearns County Attorney’s Office.
Scheel admitted killing his grandparents in March. The bodies of Wilbert “Willie” Scheel, 93, and Gloria Scheel, 80, were found on March 22 in their car on a rural dirt road in neighboring Kandiyohi County, covered with a carpet. The interior of their vehicle was partly charred and covered in soot.
A medical examiner ruled their deaths homicides. Willie Scheel was suffocated with a plastic bag placed over his head, and Gloria Scheel had been strangled with an electrical cord.
Suspicion quickly turned to their grandson, who had been living with them for several months and who throughout his adult life had racked up at least 15 convictions for burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, domestic assault, drug possession, violating a protection order and drunken driving.
Gregory Scheel was arrested that night after a manhunt by more than a half-dozen local and state law enforcement agencies. He pleaded guilty in August to two counts of first-degree murder.