Former JBLM soldier sentenced to 13 1/2 years for fatal shooting of 19-year-old wife

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TACOMA, Wash. — A former Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier accused of fatally shooting his wife in the head in 2014 was sentenced Friday to 13 1/2 years in prison.

Skylar Nemetz, 21, shot his wife, Danielle Nemetz, 19, in the back of the head as she sat at a computer on Oct. 16, 2014, in their apartment in the 8500 block of 82nd Street SW in Lakewood. He later told police he was cleaning his AR-15 rifle and didn't think it was loaded.

Prosecutors allege Nemetz shot his wife because he thought she had been unfaithful while he was on a training operation. Nemetz and his attorney say the AR-15 rifle accidentally went off while he was clearing the chamber.

Danielle Nemetz

Danielle Nemetz

Nemetz was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter earlier this month after jurors deliberated for more than a week. They went with the lesser charge that had been argued for by Nemetz's attorneys, instead of first-degree murder that had been sought by the prosecutors.  As a result, his conviction carried a sentencing  range of 11.5 to 13.5 years. He was given the high end of that range.

When he took the stand at his trial in February, Nemetz broke down in tears and said, "I never meant to hurt my wife, never meant to hurt her."

After the gun went off, he said, "I went up to my wife on the left side and I saw her face and my wife wasn't there anymore ... I saw the gunshot wound ... I knew she was dead."

After the verdict was read, Danielle's family said they weren't happy with the manslaughter conviction, but that they had to accept it.