West Madison man to judge: ‘I killed my wife, your honor’

Steven Pirus sentenced to life in prison

A man accused of killing his wife, then blowing up their west Madison home months later to cover up the crime, had a plea hearing Monday afternoon.

Steven D. Pirus, 60, was in Dane County Court on multiple felony charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, arson, four counts of mistreatment to animals causing death in connection with the explosion at his home on Stratton Drive.

In court Monday, Pirus pleaded guilty to killing his wife, Lee Anne Pirus, 50, sometime last year before September 13.

As part of the plea deal, the prosecutors agreed to drop an enhancer of use of a dangerous weapon on the homicide charge. The other eight counts that Pirus is facing in the case were dropped but read in during the hearing.

During the hearing, Judge Nicholas McNamara asked Steven Pirus what he did.

“I killed my wife, your honor,” Pirus said.

McNamara sentenced Pirus to life in prison. As part of the plea agreement, the judge will determine at a later date whether Pirus will be eligible for any form of supervised release. At least 20 years of his mandatory life sentence must be prison time, so if the judge allows the opportunity for supervised release, Pirus wouldn’t be eligible until he’s in his 80s.

According to a criminal complaint filed Sept. 21, Pirus confessed that he loosened a gas line to a dryer in the house to cause the explosion. Lee Anne’s body was found two days after the explosion in the rubble, but a medical examiner found she died from gunshot wounds, not the explosion. Pirus told officials that Lee Anne had asked him to shoot her weeks before the explosion.

According to the criminal complaint, police found evidence Pirus had been communicating with a Russian woman who he planned to marry, once she came to the U.S.

West Madison man to judge: ‘I killed my wife, your honor’