Guilty plea entered for murder charges filed in connection to death of pregnant woman
Court documents show a woman charged with two counts of murder, as well as arson and aiding an offender, has taken a plea deal.
Jade Monet Rissell, 28, entered a guilty plea in Hennepin County Court on March 9 to one count of second-degree unintentional murder and one count of 2nd degree murder of an unborn child. A guilty plea petition states in exchange, one count of first-degree arson and one count of aiding an offender would be dismissed.
In addition, the petition states Rissell would serve 195 months – a little over 16 years – with the Department of Corrections.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for the morning of March 20.
As previously reported, Rissell was charged with Shannon Michael Benson after the body of 28-year-old Annysa Marie Zierhut, who was seven months pregnant at the time, was found in a burned RV in Minneapolis in Nov. 2021.
A criminal complaint states a fire inspector found signs of combustible gas on a mattress and the victim’s body. A witness told police a woman was seen driving a black Tahoe with the RV attached. The woman asked the witness for a cigarette and, a short time later, the RV was on fire.
Investigators learned the RV had been sold to Benson and Rissell on Sept. 11.
The complaint states those who were close to the victim told police the victim had been reported missing in Anoka between Oct. 29 and Oct. 31. The victim’s boyfriend tried to track the victim using the app, Tile, which tracks lost keys.
On Oct. 31, the app led the boyfriend to the area of Fourth Avenue South and East 25th Street in Minneapolis, where he found the RV and black Tahoe.
Investigators went back to that location and arrested Benson and Rissell.
The complaint states Rissell admitted to lighting the trailer on fire to cover up the victim’s body. She added that she’d lured the victim to the RV a week earlier and assaulted her. After leaving the victim in the RV for a few days, she said she took it to 35th and Hennepin to burn it.