Man Gets 35-Year Sentence for Killing Marijuana Grower

Article excerpt

Joseph M. Runge Jr. of New Douglas will have to serve every day of a 35-year prison sentence for the murder of a man who ran a secret marijuana business in Highland.

Runge, 34, drew the sentence Wednesday from Chief Criminal Judge Charles V. Romani Jr. of Madison County for the shooting of Donald "Moon" Schwend, 62, in February 1996.

Under state law, Runge will not be eligible for parole because the conviction is for first-degree murder. When he pleaded guilty in January, prosecutors agreed to seek a sentence no higher than 40 years. Runge's brother, Gary A. "Gus" Runge, 29, of New Douglas, faces up to life in prison without parole when Romani sentences him April 30. Assistant State's Attorney Susan Jensen said Gary Runge told police he was the one who shot Schwend, even though he entered a special plea last month in which he did not admit guilt. He agreed only that there was enough evidence to convict him in a trial. A third person in the case, Ria Schumacher, 18, of Highland, is serving a 30-year sentence imposed by Romani when she pleaded guilty in August. …


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