Man sentenced to 20 years for killing girlfriend at Beau Rivage apartments

Man sentenced to 20 years for killing girlfriend at Beau Rivage apartments
Kootenai Co.
Joseph Scheel was arrested on murder charges after a woman was found dead in a Spokane apartment. 

The man who pleaded guilty to murdering his girlfriend at the Beau Rivage apartment complex was sentenced to 244 months on Thursday.

Joseph Scheel, 28, pleaded guilty to stabbing 47-year-old Edna Patricia Hernandez, ultimately resulting in her death.

Hernandez was an employee at Sacred Heart Medical Center. According to court documents, her coworker called in a welfare check in April after she did not show up for work two days in a row.

According to court documents, Hernandez and Scheel, who were identifed as being in an intimate relationship, were supposed to move out of their apartment at the Beau Rivage complex on April 1. When approached by the apartment manager, Hernandez showed injuries to her arm and leg. According to documents, the apartment manager offered to connect Hernandez with assistance, but Hernandez asked her to be quiet.

In weeks prior, Hernandez had reported to 911 that her boyfriend had grabbed her neck. In March, Hernandez told staff at the hospital that she had been thrown out of a vehicle and had to jump from a vehicle in weeks prior.

Following the request for a welfare check, SCSO deputies tried to get in touch with Hernandez on three separate occasions. Deputies said they found a ladder leading into the unit when they arrived on scene Wednesday. They were then confronted by a man inside the apartment who was being uncooperative.

A deeper search of the apartment led deputies to find Hernandez’s body. Major Crimes detectives and a forensics team conducted a nearly 24-hour investigation. According to court documents, detectives removed two knives from Scheel’s person. Detectives later found probable cause to charge Scheel with first degree murder.

According to court documents, Scheel told authorities he was concerned for his safety inside the jail and admitted to using methamphetamine, which contributed to his paranoia issues.

Court documents state Hernandez had been arguing with Scheel about his drug use in the days prior to her death.

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