Life in prison for man who killed SW Minnesota couple

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The man who fatally shot a southwestern Minnesota couple in their home and then started it on fire to destroy the evidence, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Derek Hexum, 21, was convicted of burglary, arson and murdering James Hively and his wife Catherine Hively at their Balaton home last year.

On Monday, he was ordered to serve two consecutive life sentences, court documents show.

Hexum had two accomplices in the crime. Theodore Como and Kyle Wesselink both pleaded guilty to the charges against them, and were also sentenced Monday.

Como was convicted of burglary and second-degree murder, and was ordered to serve more than 21 years in prison, court documents show. Wesselink will spend more than four years in prison after being convicted of aiding an offender, documents show.

According to the criminal complaint, Como told police he waited outside while Hexum went into the Hively’s residence with a shotgun, then heard four or five shots and a scream. They returned the next day to destroy evidence – Hexum lit the house on fire, while Como started the garage ablaze, the complaint says. The two bodies were found in the charred remains and ashes of the home.

Last fall, CityPages did an extensive story on the three men and how their lives led them to the Hively’s farmhouse last April. Read it here.

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