MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Madison man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for killing his former girlfriend, who suffocated after he buried her beneath a pile of furniture, clothing and other items inside her home.
A Dane County judge sentenced Gregg Raether, 58, on Tuesday for the death of Patricia McCullough, 55, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Raether was convicted by a jury in September of first-degree reckless homicide and other charges.
Officers who were called to McCullough’s home in September 2021 after she had not been heard from for weeks found her decomposed body beneath a pile of dresser drawers, shelving, televisions, clothing and other objects in her bedroom.
She suffered crushing, suffocating injuries that ultimately killed her, authorities said.
Evidence presented at Raether’s trial indicated he returned to McCollough’s home after her death to search for valuables, including a rifle. Circuit Judge John Hyland noted during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing that Raether’s shoeprint was found on the screen of a television in the pile.
“The bottom line is, the court is confronted with an act which caused the death with utter disregard for human life, and then a continuing conduct of then literally walking all over the deceased body of Ms. McCollough,” Hyland said.
Raether did not speak in court. He instructed his attorneys to limit their brief argument to a request for leniency, an assertion that he maintains his innocence and that he loved McCollough and still loves her.