What Happened To Sam Dreher? New Details On Firefighter Shot And Killed By Estranged Wife's Boyfriend

Photo: Herald-Tribune
What Happened To Sam Dreher? New Details On Firefighter Shot And Killed By Estranged Wife's Boyfriend
Entertainment And News

Fans of true crime already know that terrible things can happen when passion and revenge are involved, and in the case of Sam Dreher and his estranged wife, Danielle, things got dangerous fast.

Though the Drehers had separated and they were both seeing other people, Danielle's boyfriend got involved in their split, and it ended in Sam's death. 

What happened to Sam Dreher? Here's everything we know about the situation. 

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After the Drehers broke up, there was a lot of drama between them.

It's not clear how or why Danielle and Sam came to be estranged but at the time of his death, he was seeing a woman named Dianne McKnight, and Danielle had been dating a man named Michael Minor for four years. But just because she was wtih someone else didn't mean that Danielle wasn't still obsessed with Sam — in fact, in court, Minor said that Danielle had been eavesdropping on Sam and McKnight, even going so far as to install a GPS tracker that let her know where the couple was at all times.

Danielle's boyfriend broke into Sam's new girlfriend's apartment.

After Danielle told Minor that she believed McKnight had two rings that once belonged to her, in the summer of 2012, he broke into McKnight's apartment but he couldn't find them. Instead, he stole a flash drive and jewelry, and attorneys wanted to tie Danielle into this particular crime when it went to trial. 

“There was no question that she participated in the planning and the carrying out of the burglary and theft,” Assistant State Attorney Karen Fraivillig said in 2015. “The text messages were so obviously riddled with the desire to get into that apartment. It was unmistakable what the intentions were.”

A month later, there was a confrontation that ended in Sam's death.

The crime didn't end there, though. The following month, Sam and Minor confronted each other outside of the apartment and their altercation ended in Minor shooting Sam four times. He died the next day.

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Danielle was sentenced to three years behind bars.

Danielle's involvement in the burglary was tried separately from the murder case, and in 2015, she was sentenced to three years in prison for her involvement. She was a first time offender but given the serious implications of her crimes, a judge felt the sentence was warranted.

“As I look back at the summer of 2012, it is painfully evident to me every day that my life was complete chaos,” she said at the hearing. “My state of mind at that time was up and down. I was emotionally reactive rather than logically thinking.”

Minor accepted a plea deal of 30 years in prison for Sam's death.

In November of 2014, Minor was sentenced to 30 years in prison for shooting and killing Sam, as well as 15 years for burglary and five years for theft tied to his break-in at McKnight's apartment. At his sentencing, Minor appeared remorseful but it was obvious that Sam's friends and family were just ready to put this tragedy behind them.

"It's very hard to be there, to finally see him. But I'm glad we had our day in court, I'm glad I got to speak on behalf of my family, I'm glad he's going away for a long time," Sam's sister, Cindy Lutz, said. 

Sam's murder is featured on an Investigation Discovery special.

Not only has Sam's murder been the focus of shows like Dateline in the past, but it's also front and center on an episode of Web of Lies on Investigation Discovery called "Partners in Crime." 

It's been more than five years since Minor's sentencing, but what happened to Sam Dreher continues to be heartbreaking.

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.

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