Michael Pagel was in the midst of divorce and custody proceedings with his estranged wife Renee Pagel in 2006 when the 41-year-old mother of three was brutally murdered in her home in Courtland Township, Michigan. Renee Pagel’s father and stepmother went to her house when they didn’t hear back from her and found her lying dead in her bed with multiple stab wounds.
Renee Pagel’s father told authorities that he’d last seen her the night before when he picked up their children and drove them to their father’s home 15 minutes away. He also told them that the Pagels were in the middle of a divorce and Michael Pagel was pushing for full custody of the children and the house, but a few weeks before her murder a judge ruled in Renee Pagel’s favor, WoodTV reported.
However, authorities had no evidence to charge her husband and the case went cold until a lead nearly 14 years later led to Michael Pagel’s arrest and murder charges. Where is Michael Pagel today?
Pagel Pleaded Guilty to Second-Degree Murder & Was Sentenced to 25 to 50 Years in Prison
Pagel agreed to a plea deal in 2020 in which he would plead guilty to second-degree murder so that his children would avoid the pain of a long and public trial, WoodTV reported. In October 2020, Kent County Circuit Court Judge George J. Quist sentenced Pagel to 25 to 50 years in prison, which means the father of three will not be eligible for parole until 2045.
Pagel, 56, is serving his second-degree murder sentence at the Saginaw Correctional Facility, where he has a minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum of 50 years. According to public inmate records with the Michigan Department of Corrections, his earliest release date is February 5, 2045, when he will be 80 years old.
The Saginaw Correctional Facility in Saginaw County, northwest of Detroit, is a facility for adult males that opened in 1993 and Pagel is housed in the high-security unit.
Pagel Took Responsibility But Insisted That He Hired His Brother to Murder Renee Pagel & He Didn’t Commit the Act Himself
Before he was sentenced, Pagel said he was responsible for his wife’s death but that he wasn’t the one who stabbed her to death, WZZM13 reported. “I was not in my right mind when I hired my brother… to murder Renee,” Pagel said. “We plotted the murder and he carried it out. No one else was involved. I am ultimately responsible for her death. And I regret this very much.”
However, authorities said there is no evidence that the murder was carried out by anyone other than Pagel. The convicted murderer said he blamed the stress of their ongoing divorce and custody battle for the crime and claimed that he “wasn’t in his right mind,” WoodTV reported.
The outlet reported that Pagel’s three children attended his sentencing and the court read a letter written from one of them which said, “Since I was young, the case of the death of my mom, Renee Pagel, has been the source of indescribable pain. I’ve lacked the relationship with a mother that every child has a right to.” The letter continued:
Regardless of my dad’s involvement, it is impossible for anyone to say that he didn’t do an incredible job raising Joel, Hannah and myself. I was never able to have the relationship I should have had with my mom, but had a relationship with my dad that I still value more than anything.