Former deputy charged in killings of wife, sister-in-law


A former Dane County, Wisconsin, sheriff's deputy was charged with first-degree intentional homicide Friday in the fatal shootings of his wife and sister-in-law last week.

The Associated Press reports Andrew Steele, who is suffering from ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), would face a mandatory life prison sentence for each of the two counts if convicted.

Meanwhile a funeral service for the shooting victims was held in Stillwater, the hometown of sisters Kacee Tollefsbol and Ashlee Steele.

Criminal complaint describes scene

Last week Tollefsbol of Lake Elmo was visiting her sister in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison. The criminal complaint filed Friday provides details of what prosecutors say happened at the Steele's home that day.

According to the document, Tollefsbol (right) called 911 at about 12:55 p.m. and reported she'd been shot in the back by Andy Steele. When police officers arrived at the home she repeated that it was Steele who shot her and said repeatedly "I am dying."

The complaint says police found Ashlee Steele in bed. She'd been shot once in the head and a zip tie was wrapped around her neck.

Members of a SWAT team then found Andy Steele in a laundry room. The detectives said the room was very hot – that charcoal was burning in a portable grill and that the dryer was running and was vented back into the room. Carbon monoxide detectors were sounding, the complaint says.

A loaded handgun near Steele was taken by the SWAT team and there was a brief scuffle before Steele was apprehended.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Barnett told the Wisconsin State Journal Andy Steele was treated for smoke inhalation at a Milwaukee hospital.

$1 million bail

The criminal complaint is silent about any motive Andy Steele, 39, may have had for killing his wife and sister-in-law, who were 39 and 38, respectively.

The AP reports Steele's attorney, Jessa Nicholson, said in court she plans to investigate her client's mental stability. Nicholson sat with Steele who appeared in court by video from the Rock County Jail. The AP story explains he's being held there because he has a close relationship with his former co-workers at the Dane County Jail.

Channel 3000.com of Madison reports prosecutor Barnett asked Court Commissioner Scott McAndrew to set bail at $5 million but McAndrew put it at $1 million. The court also ordered Steele to have no contact with his wife's family, with his two children, or with Dane County officers.

Steele retired from the sheriff's department this year after he was diagnosed with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

A fundraising drive led by Ashlee Steele to help cover her husband's medical expenses had generated more than $20,000. Andy Steele's attorney says that money will be donated to an ALS charity and will not be used for his court costs.

Steele has another court hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Memorial funds have been established for both Ashlee Steele and Kacee Tollefsbol, who had four children and a husband she'd married a month ago.

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