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Murder of Lauren DeWise by estranged husband investigated on The Murder Tapes

Mugshot of Joseph DeWise
Joseph DeWise was sentenced to 220 years for killing Lauren DeWise and attempting to murder Ashley Van Hemert. Pic credit: Montana Dept. of Corrections

The Murder Tapes is investigating the murder of Lauren DeWise by her estranged husband, Joseph Paul DeWise, who broke into her home in Belgrade, Montana, and shot her dead in 2018.

Joseph DeWise also shot and severely wounded Lauren’s roommate, Ashley Van Hemert, in his barbaric attack. DeWise was later accused of being abusive to his former wife and his children.

He forced his children to help him cover up his crime; however, their testimony would later prove massively important in putting DeWise behind bars.

On January 6, 2018, DeWise drove with his 15-year-old son Joe DeWise to the home of his estranged wife and Joe’s stepmother Lauren DeWise. He armed himself with a firearm and ordered his son to put on a mask and accompany him into Lauren’s home.

After they had broken into the house, the father and son went into the bedroom of Lauren’s roommate, Ashley Van Hemert. Ashley awoke to find a strange man in her room, and when she demanded that he identify himself, DeWise shot her four times.

DeWise and Joe then went into Lauren’s bedroom, where, once again, the older man opened fire, shooting his ex-wife multiple times, before fleeing the scene.

Tragically, Lauren died from the gunshots, but roommate Ashley survived the attack, albeit with life-changing injuries. Her testimony would later be instrumental in convicting the killer.

After the murder, DeWise asked his son to get rid of the murder weapon, which he threw into a pond near their house. It was later recovered by some fishermen.

DeWise confessed to his daughter, Natalie DeWise, the day after the murder. Natalie and Joe initially kept their father’s secret, but eventually, they both spoke to the cops.

However, the cops initially arrested DeWise because they were able to match footprints found in the snow at the crime scene to his footwear. They also discovered ammunition at his house that matched the ammo used in the murder.

Joseph DeWise tried to blame the murder on his teenage son

Shockingly, DeWise telephoned his daughter from jail and insisted that his young son, Joe, shoulder the blame and admit to the murder. He claimed that Joe wouldn’t find prison to be too bad and would probably be out by the time he got to 21.

DeWise faced a short trial in December 2019 where a jury found him guilty of deliberate homicide and attempted homicide. At the time, he continued to profess his innocence: “I have been falsely accused here. I didn’t do it.”

In February 2020, a judge sentenced DeWise to 220 years in prison, and due to the severity of the crime, they ruled the killer ineligible for parole. District Court Judge Holly Brown said: “The circumstances of this crime are outrageous. They are aggravated and they are intolerable.”

More from The Murder Tapes

Follow the links to read about more violent crime profiled on The Murder Tapes.

An argument in a parking lot in Evansville, Indiana, led to Darius Bushrod gunning down Anthony Blaylock in a cold-blooded attack. The murder occurred in the middle of the night, but happened in front of numerous witnesses.

Also in Evansville, Indiana, Byron Edwards was stabbed 20 times in his home in 2017. His killer, Elijah Andrew Johnson, was already in custody for a violent assault when he admitted to the murder, which he claimed was done in self-defense.

The Murder Tapes air at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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