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

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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.

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