A former Wisconsin deputy, charged last year with killing his wife and sister-in-law, was found not guilty due to a mental disease or defect, multiple outlets report.
The Chippewa Daily Herald reports the jury decided early Thursday morning Andrew Steele was not legally responsible for the shooting death of Ashley Steele and Kacee Tollefsbol.
Ashley Steele (Andrew Steele's wife) and her sister, Tollefsbol, were both from Lake Elmo, Minnesota. They were killed at Steele’s home in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, where Ashley lived at the time.
Andrew Steele admitted he killed the women, WKOW reports.
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But during the trial, the defense team argued the 40-year-old suffered from a major brain disorder at the time of their deaths, caused by his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the Wisconsin State Journal reports.
Two experts, a psychologist and a neurologist, testified that Steele's behavior leading up to and after the womens' deaths were not indicative of an ongoing, progressive mental disease, the State Journal reported, and even showed some amount of planning.
The jury sided with the defense, in essence agreeing that the mental disease kept Steele from understanding he was breaking the law at the time.
Following the verdict, Andrew Steele's attorney said she believes the decision sets a precedent that "we need to take brain damage seriously," WKOW reports.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will now conduct an investigation, and the judge from the trial will decide whether Steele can be released back into the public, or if he needs care at an institution, the Chippewa Daily Herald says.