1:41 PM

It took a Camden County jury about a little over an hour to find a Lebanon man guilty of first degree murder and armed criminal action for the August 2008 death of his wife.

The jury began deliberating Horst Sabla's fate at 1:36 p.m. and at 2:50 p.m. there was a knock on the door. The foreman told a bailiff they had reached a verdict.
Prosecutors proved that Horst Gunter Sabla, 55, shot Sharon Sabla in the back of the head at Thompson's RV Park in Lebanon on Aug. 9, 2008. Sheriff Richard Wrinkle says Sabla then "folded" his wife's body at the waist, stuffed her in a black plastic hinged tote toolbox and hid her rotting body in the garage of the family home.

According to the probable cause statement, a few days later Sabla filled the box with lime and concrete. Authorities won't say how long Sabla kept his wife's remains hidden in the garage before he eventually dumped the box off of AA highway--about six miles from the couples home.

Billy Blattel, Blattel's father-in-law and son were hunting when they came across found a plastic hinged toolbox on November 15, 2008, the opening day of firearms deer season. Blattell told jurors that he asked his father-in-law to help him move the box, but that it was too heavy. When they smelled a foul odor emitting from the container they called 911 and told the little boy to stay back.

Authorities had to use bolt cutters to open the box, which was wrapped in chains and locked, to open the container. What they found inside was disturbing, the body of a woman dressed in pajamas, that had been encased in several hundred pounds of concrete.

Laclede County Sheriff Richard Wrinkle

The lady in the box remained unidentified and investigators were getting antsy in trying to determine who she was. At the time of the discovery Laclede County Sheriff Richard Wrinkle told me, "Someone loved this lady---she was well taken care of."
Wrinkle appealed to the local and national media for help in identifying "the lady in the box." Their break came about a month later when a friend of Sharon Sabla's called authorities on December 8, 2008, who said he believed he knew who the victim might be. Armed with that information, investigators obtained a DNA sample from Sharon Sabla's daughter, Ginger Coffelt, which came back positive.

On December 10th, Sabla was arrested and read his miranda rights. At first he denied having any knowledge of what happened to his wife of 19 years, telling investigators that he had gone to the store and when he returned his wife and $32,000 were gone.

The Sabla's were under a tremendous amount of financial stress at the time of the murder, they had recently lost their home and were living in a travel trailer. Sabla, who is a native of Germany, told detectives that his wife was depressed, that they were both HIV positive (Sharon Sabla contracted the disease following a surgical procedure,) and that she would shoot herself if he didn't shoot her. Later he told that moving the box from his vehicle and pushing it downhill nearly killed him.
Ken York, who has been covering the trial for the LDR writes, "He admits shooting her---I always did what she told me to do,” he (Sabla) says. “... When somebody says I cold-blooded shot my wife, they need to talk to the people that know us.

After Sabla was arrested, a search warrant was executed at the travel trailer, a storage unit and on the couples Ford Explorer. An investigator testified that they found keys that matched the locks that were on the toolbox that held Sharon Sabla's remains. They also recovered a handgun and ammunition.

The only sentence available to Sabla on the first degree murder conviction is life without the possibility of parole. He will be sentenced on July 13th.

Sabla's trial was moved to Camden County on a change of venue. His lawyers say they will file an appeal.