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5 pets also killed in house explosion to cover up wife's homicide, police say

MADISON, Wis. - Five pets were also found dead in the rubble of a house that was intentionally exploded by a husband who police believe killed his wife.

Steven Pirus is in custody for allegedly shooting his wife and attempting to cover up the crime with a house explosion, according to Madison police.

Madison police spokesperson Joel DeSpain said Monday three dogs and two cats were also found dead during the explosion investigation.

The couple's home on Stratton Way exploded Wednesday afternoon. Fire officials found the body of 50-year-old Lee Anne Pirus among the rubble. 

An autopsy by the Dane County Medical Examiner shows Pirus died from homicidal firearm trauma, not injuries sustained from the blast. Koval said in the press conference Pirus was dead for weeks or months before the explosion.

Police confirmed Steven Pirus intentionally caused a natural gas leak to explode the house. Koval said Pirus admitted to shooting his wife then blowing up their home to cover up the homicide.

Pirus is being charged with first-degree intentional homicide, arson and reckless endangerment, Police Chief Mike Koval said in a press conference Sunday.

As of Sunday afternoon, Steven Pirus was in custody in the Dane County Jail, News 3 has confirmed. 

The death is still under investigation by the Madison Police Department, Madison Fire Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.


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