UPDATE: Former deputy charged in Fitchburg homicides - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Former deputy charged in Fitchburg homicides

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Former Dane County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Steele has been charged in the murders of his wife and sister-in-law last Friday.

Steele is charged with one count of first degree intentional homicide and first degree intentional homicide with a domestic violence enhancer.

A criminal complaint shows new, grim details in the deaths of Ashlee Steele, 39, and Kacee Tollefsbol, 38. You can read the full complaint here.

Tollefsbol called police to say she had been shot by Steele in the Steeles' home in Fitchburg. When officers arrived they saw smoke and could hear Tollefsbol yelling "I am dying."

According to the criminal complaint, Tollefsbol was shot in the back and died at the hospital.  Steele's wife Ashlee was found lying in bed with a zip tie around her neck and a bullet wound to the head. She died on scene.

Officers found Andrew Steele, 39, lying on the floor in the laundry room of the home. The temperature was extremely warm, the dryer was running and vented back into the room and a small grill was burning charcoal inside. Officers say Steele resisted and became combative. He was taken to a hospital in Milwaukee for symptoms of smoke inhalation.

The complaint states earlier that day Steele was seen purchasing two bags of charcoal and lighter fluid at a nearby store.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Barnett told the courtroom Steele's actions were planned and the case is strong for the two homicide charges.

"The complaint lays out a compelling account of the events leading up to the violent deaths of the defendants wife and his sister-in-law," says Barnett.

Steele is being held in Rock County because of his connection with Dane County Sheriff's Office. Before he left the department in June when he was diagnosed with ALS, he worked at the Dane County Jail.

Appearing via video conference, Defense Attorney Jessa Nicholson argued there is still no apparent motive released and no history of domestic violence.

"The parties were, up until these events, happily married and working as a team," Nicholson said. "Because of that, the defense intends to thoroughly investigate any potential medical or psychological condition that could give rise to the circumstances we find ourselves here for."

The prosecution argued Steele should have no contact with the sisters' family in Minnesota and no contact with his children, who are staying with them. Nicholson says the 10 and 13-year-old children have been asking to talk to him by phone, and argued Steele may not have much time left with them because of his illness.

Court Commissioner Scott McAndrew set Steele's bail at $1 million, requiring him to have no contact with the family and his children, along with officers who responded to the scene last Friday.

Despite Steele's ties to Dane County, Assistant District Attorney Barnett says his office will continue prosecuting the case. DA Ismael Ozanne determined a special prosecutor was not needed.

"We see absolutely no reason to recuse ourselves," Barnett told the media after the court appearance Friday. "We've fully vetted that issue. The decision has been made and we're moving forward."

Barnett also says they've addressed the challenges of Steele's connection to the Dane County Sheriff's Office and Steele is expected to appear in person for his next court appearance. That will be for a preliminary hearing next Thursday.

Fitchburg police have not released any additional information on the investigation, including a possible motive. On Friday, Dep. Chief Donald Bates only read a prepared statement from the department offering condolences for the family.

"I would like to reassure the Putnam family that every member of the Fitchburg Police Department is keeping them in their thoughts & prayers," Bates says.

The family held funeral services for Ashlee Steele and Kacee Tollefsbol in Stillwater, MN Friday afternoon.

The Fitchburg community will hold a vigil for the sisters Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. at the southeast corner of Rosecommons Park, near the Steeles' home. A local church where Ashlee Steele worked is also arranging a more formal service.


 MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former Dane County sheriff's deputy suspected of fatally shooting his wife and sister-in-law is due in court.   Andy Steele is scheduled for an appearance in Dane County Circuit Court Friday afternoon. Steele could be formally charged Friday in the deaths of 39-year-old Ashley Steele and her 38-year-old sister, Kacee Tollefsbol, of Lake Elmo Minnesota.
 The two were killed a week ago at the Steele's home in suburban Fitchburg.
Meanwhile, a funeral service for the sisters will be held Friday afternoon in Stillwater, Minnesota at the Church of St. Michael.

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