Wade Allen takes a plea deal in 2019 murder dismemberment case

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY — With his trial scheduled for Tuesday morning, a Sturgis man pleaded no contest Monday afternoon in St. Joseph County Circuit Court to charges in connection to the murder and mutilation of his girlfriend in 2019.

Wade Allen, 39, of Sturgis, also pleaded no contest to the sexual assault of a fellow inmate on Oct. 7, 2020, in the St. Joseph County Jail.

Allen will be sentenced on March 3 before Judge Paul Stutesman.

Wade Allen agreed to a plea deal Monday in his murder, dismemberment case.
Wade Allen agreed to a plea deal Monday in his murder, dismemberment case.

Because county prosecutor David Marvin represented Allen at one time, he referred the case to the Attorney General as a special prosecutor because of the conflict.

Allen accepted a plea bargain to reduced charges of second-degree murder, attempted dismemberment of a body, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

That May 22 night, a man known only as “Steven” called 911 to report Allen had killed Kelly Jean Warner, dismembered her body and stuffed her remains in a cooler in the defendant’s North Maple Street apartment near Hatch Street. Allen denied Warner was there. At first, he denied them entry because his “apartment was a mess.”

Allen allowed officers inside only after they told him he would be held outside while they obtained a search warrant.

Allen agreed to let officers enter the apartment and take a peek into the cooler found in the living room. with the dismembered body inside.

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Defense attorneys appealed the search as illegal, but the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in November 2021, it was inevitable a warrant would have been issued and the body would have been found.

“The police did in fact engage in the process of obtaining a search warrant before the cooler was seized” by other officers the next morning the three-judge panel ruled.

“I am grateful to the Sturgis Department of Public Safety, St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, and the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office who spent countless hours on this case,” said attorney general Dana Nessel.  “No sentence will be enough to overcome the grief of the victim’s family, or the anguish suffered by the victims, but hopefully today’s plea will allow the healing process to begin.”

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Allen raped a fellow inmate almost a year and a half after his arrest while awaiting trial. The charge was reduced from first-degree CSC, a life offense to a 15-year maximum crime.

Charges of interfering with a criminal investigation and intimidating a witness with threats of death were dismissed.

Allen faces life for second-degree murder and five years for attempted dismemberment of a body.

— Contact Don Reid: dReid@Gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DReidTDR.

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: Wade Allen takes a plea deal in 2019 murder dismemberment case after tip to Sturgis police