updated 10/1/2005 9:09:20 AM ET 2005-10-01T13:09:20

A recluse accused of stuffing his dead mother in a freezer and shooting at neighbors who came to his door pleaded no contest in a deal with prosecutors.

Philip Schuth, 52, entered the plea Friday to charges of hiding a corpse, recklessly endangering safety and second-degree attempted homicide. Prosecutor Scott Horne said he will recommend an eight-year prison sentence.

Schuth was arrested April 23 after an all-night standoff with police at his deteriorating home on French Island, outside La Crosse.

The incident began when Schuth shot at Randy and Melissa Russell and their 10-year-old son after they tried to confront him about whether he had hit the boy.

Plea deal
During negotiations with police, Schuth said he had his dead mother in a freezer in his basement. Officers found her encased in a block of ice. Schuth told investigators she died of natural causes in August 2000 and an autopsy later confirmed his story.

Horne said he originally charged Schuth with first-degree attempted homicide but reduced the charges as part of the plea agreement.

The deal “recognizes Mr. Schuth has gone 52 years without any involvement with the law ... this is not an individual who led a criminal lifestyle,” Horne said.

Acquaintances said Schuth and his mother lived together in their home since Schuth was a boy.

Schuth is to be sentenced Nov. 21.

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