Zimmerman Pleads Guilty
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- A 27-year-old Unity man has pleaded guilty to killing two people during a plea deal with prosecutors. In exchange for Tyler Zimmerman's guilty pleas, four other counts were dismissed.
The Colby-Abbotsford Police Chief said Cierra Hardrath, 21 and Duane [Hostetler] Lopez Jr., 25, were killed and one person, Megan Dupee, 18 was injured following the shooting Jan. 20, 2018. It happened on the 400 block of East Maple Street in Abbotsford.
Police say they got a call from Dupee about the shooting minutes after 3 a.m. When officers responded, they found the two people dead.
Chief Jason Bauer said the sole suspect, Zimmerman, was found near the crime scene and was taken into custody. Bauer said Zimmerman was Hardrath's live-in boyfriend. He is being held in the Marathon County Jail on $1 million cash bond.
Zimmerman told police he believed Hardrath was cheating on him. According to court documents, Zimmerman said Hardrath told him she was going to watch a movie at a friend's house and she left their home in Owen around 8 p.m.
Zimmerman told police he did not believe her, so he checked her Facebook Messenger and found she was having conversations with other men. He explained he tracked Hardrath's phone using the "Find My Phone" app on her tablet, then drove to the home on the 400 block of East Maple Street in Abbotsford.
According to police, the home belongs to Hardrath's ex-boyfriend, Parker Knautz. Knautz told police Hardrath had come to visit him and his two children. He said she eventually went to sleep in his bed, but he went to his children's room, as they were calling for him, and ultimately fell asleep there.
Once Zimmerman got to the home, Lopez Jr., [Hostetler] a tenant at the home, answered the door. Zimmerman asked for Hardrath, but Lopez Jr. said he did not know her. Eventually he let him in and led him to the bedroom where she was sleeping.
Zimmerman said he talked with Hardrath and referenced cheating, then shot her. Panicked, he said he turned around and shot the person standing in the doorway, Lopez Jr. On his way out, he shot Lopez Jr.'s fiance, Megan Dupee, 18.
Investigators said Zimmerman said he drove to his work to try to tell his boss everything. He left a voicemail on his phone saying he was sorry and he messed up. Zimmerman then wrote a Facebook post saying, "Farewell everyone, I'm sorry for all that I have hurt from this..." During this time, Dupee called 911 and police arrested Zimmerman shortly after near the home.
Police spoke with Zimmerman's boss who told them Zimmerman purchased a handgun a few months ago when Zimmerman and Hardrath seemed to be having issues. He prefaced he did not believe the purchase was unusual at the time.
Investigators asked Zimmerman if he knew he was going to shoot Hardrath when he got to the home. Zimmerman respond, "kind of, in a way."
Zimmerman faces a mandatory life sentence. Only his parole eligibility will be discussed at his March 15 sentencing hearing.