Highland Springs man reaches plea deal in strangling death - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Murder victim's family member shows aggression towards NBC12 news crew

Michael Schwerdtfeger (Source: Henrico Police) Michael Schwerdtfeger (Source: Henrico Police)

A Highland Springs man will spend 18 years behind bars for the strangling death of a 60-year-old woman in 2011.

Michael Schwerdtfeger accepted a plea deal Thursday in the death of Wanda Anauo. She was found dead in her bed on October 15, 2011. Schwerdtfeger was arrested six months later.

He took an Alford Plea Thursday to 2nd degree murder. He was originally charged with 1st degree murder. However, prosecutors say they did not have enough evidence to prove premeditation.

Outside the courthouse an NBC12 news crew asked the family if they would like to say anything on behalf of the victim.  "Get that camera out of my face or I will shove it so far up his ---- that he can smell it," a family member of Anauo said.

Prosecutors say 18 years in prison is something many families wouldn't necessarily be happy with. 

"No punishment is ever sufficient," says Thomas Johnson, Henrico Deputy Commonwealth attorney.  "I don't think I've ever had a case where the family is completely satisfied short of a life sentence when it comes to a homicide

It's been a long, hard road for Anauo's loved ones, who remember who well.

She was always smiling, laughing at everybody," Amber Cole, a friend of the victim said in a previous interview.

"I want to emphasize the family was very understanding in this instance and appreciated the work and effort that police put into prosecuting the case," says Thomas.

But outside the courthouse the family member made a second threat and approached an NBC12 photographer while he was standing on the sidewalk outside the building.

"I swear I'm going to rip this camera off and break it on the top of your head," he said.

Anauo's boyfriend said he found her bruised and lifeless body in her home on the 2000 block of E. Nine Mile Road. Investigators say Schwerdtfeger and Anauo were friends, however they still don't know what led to the attack.

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