Shannon Michael Benson and Jade Monet Rissell (Hennepin County Sheriff

Shannon Michael Benson and Jade Monet Rissell (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

A Minnesota couple who admitted to murdering a pregnant woman and her unborn child before setting the victim’s body on fire inside of an abandoned trailer were sentenced to prison this week.

Hennepin County District Judge Paul R. Scoggin on Monday handed down separate prison sentences to Shannon Michael Benson and Jade Monet Rissell for the 2021 slayings of Annysa M. Zierhut and her unborn child, who she planned on naming Grace Marie, court documents reviewed by Law&Crime show.

Both Benson and Rissell had previously pleaded guilty to their roles in Zierhut’s death.

Rissell last month pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder without intent and one count of second-degree murder of an unborn child while committing a felony. While each count carried a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, Rissell was sentenced to just over 16 years in prison on each count, with the sentences to be served concurrently. In exchange for pleading guilty, prosecutors dropped charges of aiding an offender after the fact and aiding and abetting first-degree arson of a dwelling. She was also credited with already serving 492 days in jail.

Due to the state’s sentencing guidelines, which require an offender to serve the first 2/3 of their sentence in prison and the final 1/3 of the sentence on supervised release, Rissell has less than a decade to serve before she is released.

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