A Wisconsin man was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for murdering his wife by poisoning and drowning her in a toilet bowl after she told him she was a lesbian. A jury convicted Douglas J. Plude, 35, of first-degree intentional homicide in December for the death of Genell Johnson Plude, 28. Vilas County judge James B. Mohr sentenced Plude to life in prison, with parole eligibility in 20 years. The woman was found dead, her head and face in a toilet bowl, at her mother-in-law's home in October 1999.
Court records show that investigators found significant levels of drugs in her system and unusual bruises on her body, adding that the death was made to look like a suicide. Prosecutors said Genell Plude told her husband five days earlier that she was a lesbian and that he feared she would end the marriage. "Doug Plude was not going to let Genell leave; he was not going to let her family win what had been a long-term battle," Vilas County district attorney Al Moustakis said Tuesday. He said Plude was so controlling that his wife had to ask permission to use the bathroom.
Plude's lawyers argued in a last-minute brief filed Tuesday that no jury of reasonable people should have found him guilty based on the evidence presented at trial, but the judge refused to overrule the jury's decision. Plude refused to take responsibility for the crime Tuesday, saying he loved his wife deeply and had been wrongly convicted.