UPDATE: Man gets maximum sentence for burning woman's body

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UPDATED Wednesday, June 18, 2014 --- 7:00 p.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin man who admitted burning the corpse of an 18-year-old woman in his backyard fire pit has been sentenced to more than 28 years in prison.

Thirty-year-old Nathan Middleton of Evansville was given the maximum sentence for burning the body of Aprina Paul of Fitchburg.

Middleton pleaded guilty in March to charges of hiding a corpse and mutilating a corpse.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Paul's family and friends erupted in applause at the end of the hearing.

Authorities believed but couldn't prove that Middleton murdered Paul.

According to the complaint, Middleton said he found Paul dead in his bed Oct. 28 after having sex and doing drugs with her the previous night. The complaint said they met after Paul responded to Middleton's ad on Craigslist.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, March 14, 2014 --- 4:40 p.m.

A southern Wisconsin man accused of burning the body of a missing Fitchburg woman in his backyard fire pit has entered guilty pleas in the case.

According to online court records, Nathan Middleton entered guilty pleas on the charges of hiding a corpse and mutilating a corpse. The pleas were made during a hearing Thursday.

According to the criminal complaint, Middleton said he found 18-year-old Aprina Paul dead in his bed Oct. 28 after having sex and doing drugs with her the previous night.

The complaint says they met after Paul responded to Middleton's ad on Craigslist.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 21.

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UPDATED Tuesday, January 7, 2014 --- 11:50 a.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- A not-guilty plea has been entered for the southern Wisconsin man accused of burning the body of a missing Fitchburg teen in his backyard fire pit.

Nathan C. Middleton of Evansville was asked to enter a plea during an arraignment Tuesday morning. Online court records say he stood mute, so the judge entered a plea of not guilty.

The case now advances to a jury trial. The date will be set March 6.

Prosecutors say Middleton met 18-year-old Aprina Paul in October through a Craigslist ad. The criminal complaint says Middleton told investigators the two did drugs and had sex, and he found her dead the next morning.

He's charged with felony counts of hiding and mutilating a corpse.

A message left for his defense attorney, Steven Zaleski, was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, December 24, 2013 --- 1:25 p.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- A southern Wisconsin man accused of burning the body of a missing Fitchburg woman in his backyard fire pit has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Nathan Middleton, of Evansville, also waived his preliminary hearing Monday in the case involving allegations he asked his mother to blow a hole in a Rock County Jail wall so he could escape.

According to the complaint, Middleton said he found 18-year-old Aprina Paul dead in his bed Oct. 28 after having sex and doing drugs with her the previous night.

The complaint says they met after Paul responded to Middleton's ad on Craigslist.

Assistant Public Defender Kelly Mattingly withdrew last week, citing a conflict of interest. Middleton's new attorney is Steven Zaleski.

He's due back in court Jan. 7.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Sunday, December 15, 2013 --- 8:33 a.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities at the Rock County Jail have put a high-profile inmate under increased security because they say he was plotting an escape.

Nathan Middleton of Evansville is being held on felony charges of hiding and mutilating a corpse. Prosecutors say the 29-year-old burned the body of an 18-year-old Fitchburg woman in his backyard fire pit in late October.

The sheriff's department said Saturday that Middleton was apparently plotting an escape from jail. Detectives say he was talking to other inmates about wanting to escape, and that he tried to contact friends and relatives to help him escape.

Deputies say his plan was discovered and thwarted. He now faces stiffer security measures.

A message left with his public defender Saturday was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, December 13, 2013 --- 3:13 p.m.

Rock Co. deputies say that Nathan Middleton, the man charged in connection to the Aprina Paul case, plotted to escape from jail.

Middleton is currently in the Rock Co. Jail on a $100,000 cash bond for hiding a corpse and mutilating a corpse.

Deputies say they learned Middleton had talked with other inmates about wanting to escape. He also allegedly tried to contact friends and relatives to help him escape.

Deputies learned about the alleged plans on December 2nd.

Friday, deputies arrested him for solicitation to escape from jail.

Deputies have increased Middleton's security status.

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UPDATED THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2013 --- 9:02 p.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- A southern Wisconsin man is charged with two felonies after police say he burned the body of a missing Fitchburg woman in his backyard fire pit.

Twenty-nine-year-old Nathan Middleton of Evansville was charged Wednesday with hiding a corpse and mutilating a corpse.

Police say Middleton burned the body of 18-year-old Aprina Paul.

Middleton appeared in court Wednesday via video from the Rock County Jail. Middleton has been held since Nov. 1 on a probation hold.

According to the complaint, Middleton said he found Paul dead in his bed in the morning of Oct. 28 after having sex and doing drugs with her the previous night.

The complaint says the two met after Paul responded to an ad Middleton had placed on Craigslist.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, November 14, 2013 --- 11:25 a.m.

Rock Co. court officials say the man arrested in connection to the death of Aprina Paul will not be in court Thursday.

Nathan Middleton was arrested Wednesday on charges that include hiding a body.

The criminal complaint in the case is not ready.

A future court date has not been set.

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UPDATED Wednesday, November 13, 2013 --- 2:31 p.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities have arrested a southern Wisconsin man on suspicion of hiding the body of a 18-year-old woman whose body was burned in a fire pit.

The Rock County sheriff's office says the 29-year-old man was arrested Wednesday.

The Porter man was being held on suspicion of a probation violation. He is a person of interest in the disappearance of 18-year-old Aprina Paul of Fitchburg but has not been charged.

A lab in Dallas is examining bone fragments. The sheriff's office says if that evidence indicates a cause of Paul's death, other charges are possible.

The man is expected to appear in court Thursday.

In court documents, police say the man met Paul through an online ad for sex, and two days later burned her body over a fire in his yard.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, November 13, 2013 --- 1:50 p.m.

Rock Co. Sheriff's officials say Nathan Middleton has been arrested in connection to the death of Aprina Paul.

Middleton was arrested on the following charges: Hiding a Corpse, Mutilating a Corpse, Pandering, Possession of THC, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Failure to Notify Coroner of Death.

One aspect of the investigation that is still on-going is a forensic evaluation of bone fragments and evidence that is being tested by a specialty laboratory in Dallas, Texas. If that evidence indicates a cause of death, officials say further charges may be possible.

Middleton is expected in court Thursday afternoon.

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UPDATED: Friday, November 8, 2013 --- 4:00 p.m.
Reporter: Phil Levin

Investigators recovered as many as 25 teeth and fillings, bones and drugs from the Rock County home where they found human remains in a burn pit.

29-year-old Nathan Middleton told investigators he met 18-year-old Aprina Paul when she answered his ad for sex on Craigslist. He says they also took drugs and when they awoke the next morning Paul was not breathing. Middleton says he built a burn pit and fed the fire for two days to get rid of her remains.

In a search of the home detectives recovered more than 100 items, including various knives and saws and marijuana. They also found a prepaid cell phone and collected DNA and fingerprints.

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UPDATED Thursday, November 7, 2013 --- 4:14 p.m.

Court documents are shedding more light on the Aprina Paul case.

According to a Search Warrant Affidavit, Nathan Middleton admitted he posted an ad for sex on Craigslist which was answered by Aprina Paul on Oct. 27th.

The report says Middleton and Paul texted back and forth, and agreed to meet. Nathan Middleton dropped his fiancee off at work in Middleton, then picked up Aprina Paul in Fitchburg, and drove her to the home he shared with his fiancee outside Evansville.

At the home, Middleton and Paul reportedly consumed an unknown drug, and also smoked marijuana, and had sex twice. The next morning, Middleton says he woke up and found her not breathing, and without a pulse. He says he tried chest compressions, and eventually wrapped her body in a blanket and hid her under a liner outside his garage.

He says he put her clothes and purse in a burn barrel, and later threw her cell phone out the window while driving along a road north of the house.

Eventually, he bought shovels and kerosene at an Evansville store. His fiancee went into town to buy supplies for s'mores, at which time he took Aprina's body, put it in the fire pit and covered it with wood and kerosene and lit it on fire. Middleton and his fiancée sat at the fire until nearly midnight.

During the interview, Middleton was shown a picture of Aprina, he confirmed she was the person he picked up and whose body he later burned.

The Rock Co. Sheriff's office impounded Middleton's car.

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UPDATED Tuesday, November 5, 2013 --- 9:00 p.m

Dozens of family members, close friends, and community members gathered at Penn Park in Madison Tuesday night to pay tribute to 18-year-old Aprina Paul whose remains were recently found in a fire pit at an Evansville home.

Many shared stories, while others expressed grief, trying to deal with this disturbing death.

Take a listen to what those close to Aprina had to share in the video above.

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UPDATED Tuesday, November 5, 2013 --- 5:13pm

Monday, Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden said they are confident the human remains found at an Evansville home are that of Aprina Paul. Spoden did not say specifically why, but said there is enough evidence at the scene to link it to Ms. Paul.

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UPDATED Monday, November 4, 2013-- 6:15 p.m.

"Unbelievable. I just couldn't believe it," said Donna Woodworth

In a small community where everyone knows everyone, the sight of squads and yellow tape is more than unusual.

"That's kind scary. That's the first time this has happened ever," said Woodworth.

Donna Woodworth has lived in Evansville for more than 40 year next door to the home on West Highway 14 where human remains were found Saturday.

"You usually do know all you neighbors, and you're friendly but this is a different situation altogether," said Woodworth.

Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden says he's confident those remains are those of 18-year-old Aprina Paul of Fitchburg who went missing last week. Spoden says she met the man who lived there online-- 29-year-old Nathan Middleton.

"I think that's where a lot of people get in trouble these days," said Woodworth.

"Anytime you're meeting anyone on the internet you have no idea who they truly are giving information about yourself to people you don't know, and once it's out there its out there forever," said Sheriff Spoden.

Middleton had moved in to the rental property just a couple of weeks ago with his fiancé and her five month old baby. Middleton is now a person of interest. He led investigators to where the remains were but did not confess to a murder. This wouldn't be his first time being questioned by police. Middleton has a criminal history, spending three years behind bars for an armed burglary in 2005.

"A lot of unanswered questions," said Spoden. "Now we want to put all the evidence we've gathered of what happened at that home and what happened to this poor young lady."

The Rock County Sheriff's office says they are not ruling out natural, accidental, or homicide as the cause of death.

What makes it difficult to determine is the condition of the body. They plan to work with a crime lab in illinois. Middleton remains in custody on a probation hold where the sheriff says he will be for the forseeable future.

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UPDATED Monday, November 4, 2013 --- 2:37 p.m.

Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden says they are confident the human remains found at an Evansville home are that of Aprina Paul. Spoden did not say specifically why, but said there is enough evidence at the scene to link it to Ms. Paul.

He says they will need to send the remains to a crime lab to officially identify the body.

Spoden says Nathan Middleton remains in custody on a probation hold, and is a person of interest in this case. He is not being called a suspect and has not been charged in connection to Ms. Paul's death.

Information from their investigation led police to Mr. Middleton. Spoden says it appears he met Aprina Paul through a website. Fitchburg police questioned him, and he led investigators to the human remains at his home.

Mr. Middleton was living at the hone with his fiance and her 5-month-old child. His fiance is also being questioned by investigators. She says she doesn't know anything about Aprina Paul's death or the investigation.

Right now it is unclear how Paul died, whether her death was accidental or homicide.

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UPDATED Monday, November 4, 2013 --- 8:37 a.m.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- At least one neighbor noticed a fire burning for almost a week in a Rock County burn pit before investigators discovered female bone fragments there.

The bone fragments were found as authorities were investigating the disappearance of Aprina Paul. She was last seen on Oct. 27.

Stacy Wagner tells The Janesville Gazette that she has a clear view of her neighbor's yard and noticed a fire burning there Oct. 28. She says the fire kept going day and night, with flames about the size one would expect from a campfire.

Wagner says her first inkling of trouble came when deputies showed up Friday night.

Investigators are working to determine who the bone fragments belonged to. A man who lives in the home has been arrested on a probation hold.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Sunday, November 3, 2013 --- 2:50 p.m.

Rock County Sheriff's have seized a number of items from the home in Evansville, believed to be of evidentiary value.

Among the items retrieved from the home, were bone fragments pulled from a burn pit on the property. After being transported to the Rock Co. Coroner's Office, the bone was determined to be of female human remains. Further forensic analysis is needed to determine the identity of the deceased person. Rock Co. detectives are still investigating the case. Nathan Middleton remains in custody at the Rock County Jail on a probation hold.

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Saturday November 2, 2013

MADISON, Wis.-- The search for a missing Fitchburg teen has lead police and deputies to W. US Highway 14 in Rock County.

According to a Rock County Sheriff's Office news release, 18-year-old Aprina Paul may have died at 1206 W. US Highway 14 in Evansville. That information was given to the Sheriff's office by Fitchburg police. County investigators along with workers from the Rock County Coroner's office have spent the day at the scene looking for evidence.

Nathan Middleton, who was in the home on Highway 14, has been taken into custody on a probation violation. He has not been charged with a crime.

Paul was last seen Sunday night (October 27th) leaving Fitchburg in the vehicle of an unknown man.

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Wednesday October 30, 2013

MADISON, Wis.--- Police in Fitchburg are looking for a woman who has not been seen since Sunday night.

Aprina Paul, who is 18 years old, was last seen around 10:00pm on October 27th. Police say she left a home on King James Way Rd. in Fitchburg with an unknown man.

Paul is 5'3" and weighs 160 pounds with dark brown hair. When last seen she was wearing black stretch pants, black shoes and a black or gray leather jacket.

Anyone with information on Aprina Paul is asked to call Fitchburg Police at 608-270-4300 or Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 608-266-6014.


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