Chattanooga man gets 20 years for beating wife to death as children watched

Chattanooga man gets 20 years for beating wife to death as children watched

November 10th, 2011 by Todd South in News

John "Budweiser" Wiser makes an appearance in front of Judge Rebecca Stern to plead guilty to second-degree murder in the beating death of his wife, Shannon Wiser. Police say Wiser beat and strangled her in front of their two children on Sept. 7, 2010. She later died of the injuries.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

A local judge sentenced a 28-year-old man to 20 years in prison for the beating and choking death of his wife.

John "Budweiser" Wiser pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder and related charges in the killing of his wife, 31-year-old Shannon Wiser.

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern ruled that Wiser must serve 100 percent of the 20-year sentence due to the nature of the crime. He has been in jail custody since his September 2010 arrest and will receive credit for that time toward his sentence.

Prosecutors originally charged Wiser with first-degree murder, which carries a possible life sentence.

On Wednesday, he answered judge and attorney questions briefly, with a "yes" or "no," and made no other statements during the proceeding.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Finlay said after the hearing that the evidence in the case supported the crime of second-degree murder and that would likely have been the result of a trial.

"Mr. Wiser didn't get any breaks based on his plea," Finlay said. "It was more appropriately a second-degree murder case and that's what he pleaded guilty to."

Finlay said that, throughout the process, he talked with family and friends of Shannon Wiser, who said they wanted closure and the most effective end to the ordeal.

"I was very angry, I wanted life," said Stephanie Jarrell, a friend of the victim. "But (Finlay) was very clear about why and how it works and in a court of law what we'd have to prove."

Jarrell, one of five of Shannon's friends who awaited Wiser's guilty plea, at times wiped away tears during the 20-minute hearing.

Stephanie Jarrell and her husband, Mike, said the plea will keep Shannon Wiser's 10-year-old son, who witnessed his mother's death, from having to testify.

"Don't put him through that a year and a half after he lost his mom," Stephanie Jarrell said.

Witnesses told police that Wiser was first officially charged with beating Shannon after he came home on Sept. 4, 2010, to find her with a group of friends examining her new body piercing in their 3531 Sleepy Hollow Road home.

He began pushing and hitting Shannon and her friends, who fled and called police. Shannon Wiser stayed with Stephanie Jarrell for a few days afterward.

Police could not find Wiser and, on Sept. 7, 2010, he returned to his home and attacked Shannon, slamming her head against a wall and choking her as her 10- and 6-year-old sons watched.

She died five days later of a brain stem hemorrhage as a result of the beating.