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Judge sentences Balaton man to life times two for murder of elderly couple

WORTHINGTON -- A judge Monday handed a Balaton man two life prison sentences, plus an additional 15 years in prison, for the April 2015 murders of an elderly Balaton couple and the arson of their rural farm home.Derek Michael Hexum, 21, was origi...

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WORTHINGTON - A judge Monday handed a Balaton man two life prison sentences, plus an additional 15 years in prison, for the April 2015 murders of an elderly Balaton couple and the arson of their rural farm home.Derek Michael Hexum, 21, was originally facing 10 charges for the killing of James and Catherine Hively.
He pleaded guilty in March in Lyon County District Court to two counts of first-degree murder while committing burglary, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson and second-degree arson.Two other men, Theodore Allen Como, 19, of Marshall, and Kyle Richard Wesselink, 22, of Tyler, also pleaded guilty to charges in relation to the April killing and were sentenced Monday. Como was sentenced to 25 years in prison on burglary, murder and arson charges; Wesselink was sentenced to five years in prison for aiding an offender.Wesselink told authorities he had dropped off Como and Hexum at the Hively home.Como told law enforcement that he and Hexum had intended to commit a burglary. He said he opened the door of the residence, Hexum went inside with a shotgun, and he heard four or five shots and screams, according to the criminal complaint.After the gunshots were fired, Como said he went inside the house and started to steal items, the complaint states. Como said they also took a vehicle owned by the couple.Como said that he and Hexum later decided that they needed to destroy evidence and drove back to the Hively residence to set it on fire. Law enforcement responded to the fire, where they found the couple dead inside the home.The publicity of the case and local prominence of the victims spurred a change of venue in January, moving the trial from Lyon County District Court in Marshall to Nobles County District Court in Worthington.Hexum was previously convicted in connection with the July 2014 Granite Falls shooting of Daniel Scheff. He was convicted of aiding an offender to avoid arrest in that case and was sentenced to 213 days in jail and a one-year stayed prison sentence, the maximum sentence provided under sentencing guidelines.His older brother, Devin, is serving more than 10 years in prison for shooting Scheff in the abdomen multiple times. Scheff survived the shooting but was seriously injured. RELATED CONTENT Man convicted in Granite Falls shooting pleads guilty in separate murder caseWORTHINGTON - A judge Monday handed a Balaton man two life prison sentences, plus an additional 15 years in prison, for the April 2015 murders of an elderly Balaton couple and the arson of their rural farm home.Derek Michael Hexum, 21, was originally facing 10 charges for the killing of James and Catherine Hively.
He pleaded guilty in March in Lyon County District Court to two counts of first-degree murder while committing burglary, first-degree burglary, first-degree arson and second-degree arson.Two other men, Theodore Allen Como, 19, of Marshall, and Kyle Richard Wesselink, 22, of Tyler, also pleaded guilty to charges in relation to the April killing and were sentenced Monday. Como was sentenced to 25 years in prison on burglary, murder and arson charges; Wesselink was sentenced to five years in prison for aiding an offender.Wesselink told authorities he had dropped off Como and Hexum at the Hively home.Como told law enforcement that he and Hexum had intended to commit a burglary. He said he opened the door of the residence, Hexum went inside with a shotgun, and he heard four or five shots and screams, according to the criminal complaint.After the gunshots were fired, Como said he went inside the house and started to steal items, the complaint states. Como said they also took a vehicle owned by the couple.Como said that he and Hexum later decided that they needed to destroy evidence and drove back to the Hively residence to set it on fire. Law enforcement responded to the fire, where they found the couple dead inside the home.The publicity of the case and local prominence of the victims spurred a change of venue in January, moving the trial from Lyon County District Court in Marshall to Nobles County District Court in Worthington.Hexum was previously convicted in connection with the July 2014 Granite Falls shooting of Daniel Scheff. He was convicted of aiding an offender to avoid arrest in that case and was sentenced to 213 days in jail and a one-year stayed prison sentence, the maximum sentence provided under sentencing guidelines.His older brother, Devin, is serving more than 10 years in prison for shooting Scheff in the abdomen multiple times. Scheff survived the shooting but was seriously injured.RELATED CONTENTMan convicted in Granite Falls shooting pleads guilty in separate murder case

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