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Man accused of burying girlfriend in backyard

Pinellas County, Florida - Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office say 35-year-old William C. Routenberg confessed to killing his 24-year-old live-in girlfriend and burying her in the backyard.

The body of Shanessa Lynn Chappie was found behind a home she shared with Routenberg at 6217 148th Avenue North in the Highpoint area of unincorporated Clearwater. 

Photo Gallery: Body found buried in back yard pictures

A woman at the house late Friday night who identified herself as Routenberg's new girlfriend, Kristen, says he killed Chappie in self-defense.

Kristen says she started dating Routenberg around the same time Chappie went missing about a month ago.

Detectives say their investigation started on Wednesday, June 29 after they received information of an unreported murder that happened over a month ago.  On Thursday, June 30, detectives served a search warrant at the house. During the search, detectives discovered the body of Shanessa Chappie buried in the backyard.

During interviews, detectives say Routenberg told them Chappie was his girlfriend, who he killed during an argument.

Ann Harper has lived in the house right next door for 10 years. She says from the time Routenberg moved in there were problems. "A week later here comes the traffic coming up and the in and out. I was like okay it's trouble. There was always drug trafficking and I found syringes in my yard and I found bullets in my yard. I've heard gunshots many a times."

Her father, Willie Harper, has lived on the same street for 27 years and says, "They get to hollering pretty loud sometimes. The sheriff came out two or three times to quiet them down."

The Harper's are saddened at the news that someone lost their life next door.  Shanessa Chappie is someone Ann says she never had a chance to meet.

Ann says so many people came in and out of the house that she doesn't recognize Chappie's picture. She says, "I knew they was trouble and I never did like them. I didn't talk to them but I never thought it would come that far." 

Meanwhile Kristen says Routenberg is a nice guy and the type of person who helps everyone out.

Routenberg was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder on Friday, July 1. He also faces several unrelated drug charges as well as a violation of probation charge. The drug charges are for Possession of Oxycontin, Cocaine, and Paraphernalia.












Routenberg is a registered sex offender. He plead guilty to capital sexual battery in 1990 and was found guilty of sexual battery on a child under the age of 12 in Pinellas County. He received a six year prison sentence followed by 10 years probation.   

Chappie is from Erlanger, Kentucky.


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