Skip to main content

Wisconsin deputy sent to institution for killing wife, sister-in-law

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A former Dane County sheriff's deputy will spend the foreseeable future in a state mental institution after a judge ruled Friday that he is a danger to himself and others, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Andrew Steele, 40, was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect last month in the August 2014 shooting deaths of his wife Ashlee Steele and her sister, Kacee Tollefsbol of Lake Elmo.

Steele pleaded guilty to fatally shooting both women in his family's Fitchburg, Wis., home. But his defense team successfully argued Steele suffered from a major brain disorder at the time, which was caused by his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease.

A physician who examined Steele found that Steele still is a danger to himself and others, and requires he be institutionalized, according to the State Journal. Steele's attorney did not challenge those findings.

In court Friday, Steele said he didn't know what happened when he shot his 39-year-old wife and Tollefsbol, 38, her sister. The Steeles' two children now live with his parents in Florida.

Judge Nicolas McNamara said Steele must be in a secure facility because there's "too much unknown" about his condition, according to the State Journal. In addition, nobody knows whether Steele would harm anyone else, because nobody knows why he killed his wife and sister-in-law, McNamara said.

Steele also addressed members of the women's family in an emotional statement, saying he prays for them and he hopes they find peace.

But the brother of Ashlee Steele and Tollefsbol said he will never forgive Andrew Steele for what he did.

“His actions were calculated, selfish and devastating not only to me but to my entire family, including his children," said Brad Putnam.

The sisters' family lived in California and Michigan before moving to Minnesota when the sisters were teenagers. They are survived by their parents, who live in Stillwater, as well their brother and a sister.

Steele will be housed at the state-run Mendota Mental Health Institute. By law, he can petition for release from the institution every six months, but it's unlikely he would be released unless it's determined he is no longer a threat.

His attorney said she will petition for Steele's release at some future point, depending on the pace of his physical deterioration from his ALS.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-18 at 2.29.47 PM

Family's tributes to mother killed by partner in St. Paul murder-suicide

The 30-year-old was killed by her partner, who then killed himself.


Eagan man killed after crashing into traffic signal

The 30-year-old crashed into a traffic light early Wednesday morning.

Melvin Carter

What's in Mayor Melvin Carter's budget proposal?

Here's what the St. Paul mayor is putting his focus on for the upcoming year.

WCCO building

Digital, streaming employees at WCCO-TV vote to unionize

The 15 employees will join on-air talent and producers as members of the SAG-AFTRA union.


Police arrest man suspected of sexual assault, weapons threat in Eagan

The investigation prompted a SWAT response in an Eagan neighborhood on Tuesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, August 16

The latest reporting period averaged just under 1,300 new cases per day.


Jason and Carly Zucker sell Edina home for $4.18M

The property was bought in 2020, months after Jason Zucker was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Legacy Lot Random (1 of 6)

Gallery: Luxury living is par for the course here

Cragun’s Golf Resort Communities Offer Stunning Views Along with Resort-Style Living

Screen Shot 2022-08-18 at 8.10.56 AM

Restrictions in place as Emerald Ash Borer found in Sherburne County

The county is now the 36th in the state with a confirmed presence of the invasive insect.

Fire, firefighters

Home that was scene of June standoff engulfed in fire

Authorities arrived to find the home fully ablaze.