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Kuester sentenced to life in mental institution
kuester listeningonline
Jaren Kuester listens to the testimony of the children of Gary and Chloe Thoreson in court on Friday, Jan. 31.

Jaren Kuester, the man responsible for the deaths of three Lafayette County citizens, will spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.

            On Friday, Jan. 31 Dane County Circuit Court Judge William Foust sentenced Kuester to the lifetime commitment and found him not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

            “There are no winners in the courtroom today,” said Foust before he delivered the sentencing. “There are only those who have lost…nothing I do here today can fix that.”

            Kuester had previously pled guilty to the three first-degree intentional homicide charges in connection with the April killings of Chloe, Gary and Dean Thoreson, so although Kuester was found guilty of actually committing the crimes, he was also found not to be legally responsible for the crimes on Friday due to his mental condition at that time.

            During the court proceeding on Friday, Kuester sat with his head down while listening to the heart-wrenching testimony of Ryan Thoreson and Krista Kreil, the son and daughter of Chloe and Gary Thoreson who both spoke emotionally of the loved ones they were violently robbed of far too soon.

            District Attorney Kate Findley also spoke of the impact of the killings on the community as a whole, saying that Lafayette County is a rural area that does not see crimes like this and that now, after the random killings of three vibrant and highly involved community members, people in the area have lost their previous sense of security and are afraid.

            Kuester also made a short statement to the court during which he said he had lost touch with reality and was lost and confused when he entered the Thoreson home, because he believed no one was there and was only looking for food and drink.

            “I never planned to harm anyone,” he said. “I’m sorry. Looking back, I never imagined this happening.”

            For the complete story see next week’s Republican Journal.