A Marathon man charged with raping and murdering a woman in November deserves the death penalty, prosecutors said Thursday.
A grand jury Thursday indicted Steven Matthew Wolf, 58, on a first-degree murder charge. Handing a case to a grand jury is required before asking a jury to sentence a convict to die by lethal injection.
Monroe Assistant State Attorney Colleen Dunne presented the case Thursday to the grand jury and the prosecutor’s office then announced it would seek the death penalty should a jury convict Wolf of first-degree murder.
Police said Wolf dumped 51-year-old Michelle Osbourne‘s naked body in the woods by the Vaca Cut Bridge after raping and strangling her Nov. 21, the night before Thanksgiving. The indictment says he used a ligature to kill Osbourne.
“The murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel,” reads the state’s notice to seek the death penalty.
Police were quick to make an arrest in the homicide but identifying the victim took longer.
A fisherman found her body in the woods that afternoon, but it was almost a week before Monroe County sheriff’s detectives were able to identify the body by matching her fingerprints.
Osborne was homeless and lived in Janesville, Wisconsin, before moving to the Middle Keys, according to the sheriff’s office. She had worked as a substance abuse treatment center manager in Janesville, according to records.
Just hours after Osborne’s body was discovered, deputies found a Dodge conversion van parked at the Kmart shopping plaza at 5585 Overseas Highway. That’s where Wolf was arrested.
The van had missing parts similar to the ones found in the woods, and branches were stuck underneath the vehicle, Detective Rosa DiGiovanni said.
Wolf was inside the van, and it appeared he was living in it. Deputies found a lot of blood inside the van and also found bloody sheets placed in garbage bins throughout the city.
Wolf was arrested Nov. 23 and held on a murder charge, but the formal charging documents weren’t filed until Dec. 14.
In addition to the rape and the heinous manner in which Osbourne died, prosecutors cited a third reason the crime amounts to capital murder: Wolf has a previous conviction for a capital felony, “and/or of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person.”
Wolf has an extensive criminal history in his native Boise, Idaho, including a first-degree murder conviction in 1977, according to records released by the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
Wolf and three of his friends smothered an elderly man to death with a pillow, records show. They had broken into his house to steal his $119 Social Security check.
Keys prosecutors now have two death penalty cases awaiting trial: Wolf and the case of Justin Calhoun.
Calhoun, 25, a transgender woman, admitted to police she jammed a broken piece of furniture down the throat of Mark Brann, 67, and stomped on it and also stabbed him in both eyes with a pen, detectives said.
Calhoun and Wolf remain jailed at the Stock Island Detention Center without bond.