Updated, Dec. 20: Judge William Davis on Dec. 13, 2019, sentenced Michael Reuschel to 30 years in prison for the charge of attempted first-degree murder and — concurrently with that sentence — five years each for the four other charges.
Original story, Nov. 8: After deliberating for more than four hours, a Gainesville jury found 63-year-old Michael Reuschel guilty of attempted first-degree murder against his wife in 2018.
Emotions erupted from the husband’s family inside the courtroom Thursday night as the jury also found Reuschel guilty of false imprisonment, depriving the victim of medical care, tampering with the victim and evidence.
In their closing argument, prosecutors said Michael feared losing half of his fortune to a divorce, so he stabbed his wife – with two serious injuries to the neck and right wrist – and forced her to go along with his story about a home invasion before calling 911 the next morning.
“She would say absolutely anything to get to the hospital. She would say anything she has to get out of his control,” said Assistant State Attorney David Byron.
The defense argued Susan O’Brien Reuschel’s angry text messages, physical abuses against her husband, and even suicidal intentions in the past suggested he was defending himself.
“He was very generous with [his money],” said defense attorney Finnell McGuinness. “For them to say that he’d try to kill somebody over money is ridiculous.”
She also said surveillance footage showed Susan was the last one to enter the guest bedroom and could have carried a pairing knife in her purse.
The defense is preparing for a sentencing hearing before Judge William Davis next month.