Steven Vogle beat Michael Williams to de*ath, hanged the man, and then threw his body in a ditch where he lit it afire after his girlfriend ended their relationship so she could date Williams. Vogle later said he acted in rage. He’ll spend the rest of his life in prison after a court sentenced him on first-degree m*urder in December 2021, one-year post crime.
On September 16, 2020, reports of a fire in a ditch prompted concerned citizens to call the police, who then discovered Williams’s body in Kellogg, Iowa. After putting out the fire, Williams’ body was discovered by the police; his remains were bound with rope and duct tape and wrapped in plastic and cloth.
Later on, the Medical Examiner verified that Michael Williams’s burned remains were discovered at the scene. The cause of his de*ath was determined to be strangulation homicide.
Vogel Arrested for Williams’ Murd*er
A few days prior to Williams’ mur*der, Vogel implied in Facebook messages to a friend that he was envious of Williams and intended to mur*der him. Prior to the incident, Vogel and Williams had been acquainted for a number of years.
Police were informed by witnesses that Vogel had confessed to the m*urder, claiming that he had grown envious of Williams’s love triangle around September 12, 2020. Furious, Vogel asserted that he had “clubbed” Williams prior to using the rope to strangle him to de*ath.
Vogel, who went by “Black Mike,” had been seeing a woman he had previously dated.
Williams’ body was kept in the basement of Vogel’s Grinnell, Iowa, house until September 16, when Vogel dumped it and set it on fire.
Three Others Charged in Mur*der
In addition to Vogel, three other people were accused of being accessory to m*urder: her boyfriend Roy Garner, mother Julia Cox, and friend Cody Johnson.
The M.E. would go on to testify at trial that Williams was strangled by being hanged by a rope for about five-to-six minutes, the time it took him to die.
Judge Says Vogel “Doesn’t Deserve” a Parole Hearing
Judge Shawn Showers gave Vogel a life sentence without the possibility of parole, declaring that he should never have to face a parole board or live on the streets again.
“These sentences are made for people like you who commit these horrific offenses and take others’ lives without any regard for consequences,” Showers stated. “You are a cold-blooded, dangerous ki*ller. You’ll have endless opportunities to reflect on your actions, the suffering and loss you brought about, and the precious life that you ended.”
“You behaved as though Michael Williams weren’t a human being. You gave him a club. ki*lled him by strangulation. Kept him in your basement as if he were a k*ill-target. You wrapped his body and burned it. And you made Michael Williams less human. And that was not what Mr. Williams deserved.”
Not a Hate Crime
Given that Vogel is White and Williams’s son is Black, the family initially thought that race had a role in the mu*rder because of the circumstances surrounding the crime. Prosecutors, however, disagreed that the murd*er was a hate crime or that race had any bearing on it. Rather, they believe that Vogel was k*illed because of jealousy. The Williams family was pleased with the case’s outcome despite their initial emotions.The father of Williams, James Byrd-Williams, stated, “The justice system operated here.” “I’m satisfied.”
My condolences to the Williams family.
Love is a crazy thing but never worth murd*ering someone or spending the rest of your life behind bars.