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Waukesha man gets life commitment

Feb. 4, 2014

A Waukesha man convicted of beating three people to death in a southwestern Wisconsin farmhouse was sentenced Friday to spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.

Before he was sentenced, Jaren Kuester, 31, apologized for the slayings and said he'd lost touch with reality.

"I'm sorry," he said in a statement to the court. "Looking back, I never imagined anything like this happening."

Prosecutors said Kuester broke into the rural farmhouse near Wiota in April and killed the victims with fireplace pokers.

Lafayette County prosecutor Kate Findley said the killings were among the most vicious crimes ever committed in the county. She asked the judge to sentence Kuester to three consecutive life commitments to a mental institution.

Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust acknowledged the request but instead included conditions that Kuester never be released from confinement.

Earlier, relatives of the three victims said they are still haunted by the killings and are not sure that Kuester's lifetime commitment will bring the family closure.

Kuester, who pleaded guilty in December to killing the three, had broken into the house after wandering the countryside in what his parents said was a delusional state.

Prosecutors said Kuester killed Gary and Chloe Thoreson minutes after they arrived home from a trip to California. Kuester had already killed Dean Thoreson when he went to check on the home before their arrival, the criminal complaint said.

— Associated Press

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