DARLINGTON — A competency evaluation was requested by the attorney of Jaren M. Kuester, the man accused of killing three South Wayne residents in late April, during a scheduling conference on Monday.
Kuester, 31, of Milwaukee, has been charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide for the deaths of Gary Thoreson, 70, his wife, Chloe Thoreson, 66, and his brother Dean Thoreson, 76. Kuester also faces charges of burglary and automobile theft in connection with the case.
When Judge C. William Foust, the Dane County judge assigned to the case, asked if there was anything other than scheduling that anyone needed to bring up on Monday, Guy Taylor, Kuester’s defense attorney replied, “At this time, it is incumbent upon me to raise the issue of competency.”
Taylor asked that the court order that the evaluation be done on an inpatient basis, as he feels that a clinical evaluation is required in order to “have a complete and thorough evaluation.”
“It is my belief that an inpatient evaluation is necessary in this case,” said Taylor. “I don’t make the request lightly.”
However, Foust ruled that decision should be left up to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“My only concern is that we are not mental health professionals,” said Foust.
“I’ve been at this for 25 years and I have spent a great deal of time with my client,” insisted Taylor, in an attempt to secure an order specifically for an inpatient anaylsis.
But Foust would not budge. “I don’t think it’s my call,” he said.
Foust did agree to Taylor’s request that the order include that the defense is requesting an inpatient evaluation however.
Foust presided over the hearing via videoconference from Dane County on a monitor placed in front of the judge’s bench in the Lafayette County Courthouse.
Foust replaced Lafayette County Circuit Judge William Johnston as presiding official of the case, after Taylor submitted a motion for substitution of judge.
The competency hearing has been scheduled for the Lafayette County Courthouse July 1 at 1:30 p.m., with Foust again appearing via video conference.
According to the criminal complaint, Kuester beat the Thoresons to death with a fireplace poker, and also stabbed Chloe Thoreson, as the victims entered Gary and Chloe’s home in rural South Wayne, which Kuester had broken into.
If convicted, Kuester will face mandatory life sentences on the homicide charges, 12½ years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine for the burglary charge and a six year imprisonment and a $10,000 fine for the motor vehicle charge.