A Janesville man accused of killing his girlfriend and hiding her body in their home was sentenced to 28 years in prison and 12 years of extended supervision in Rock County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Michael Paul pleaded guilty in September to a charge of first-degree reckless homicide. He was originally charged with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.
"This is a class B felony, which could be punishable by up to 60 years in prison. It's the second most serious crime that can be committed in the state of Wisconsin. This is a severe offense," said Judge James Daley as he sentenced Paul.
Prosecutors said Paul beat his girlfriend Lisa Schaefer to death and hid her body under the stairs in the couple's home in January. An autopsy indicated Schaefer died from blunt trauma to the head and neck.
Janesville police said Paul and the victim had been in a relationship for about two years.
The criminal complaint said that on the night Schaefer was killed, the two got into a fight and Paul allegedly told a friend, "I'm either going to end up in jail or she'll end up 6 feet under."
The complaint said Paul told police he decided to hide Schaefer's body under the stairs while he figured out what to do.
Schaefer's daughter called police to report her mother missing. A family member gave police information from a social website and officers executed a search warrant at the home, where officers found Schaefer's body in the basement under the staircase.