UPDATE: Bail raised to $2 million for former deputy charged in F - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Bail raised to $2 million for former deputy charged in Fitchburg double homicide

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MADISON (WKOW) --- A Dane County judge set bail at $2 million Thursday for former Dane County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Steele who is charged with the homicides of his wife and sister-in-law.

Steele appeared in court to enter his plea of not guilty in the deaths and Judge Nicholas McNamara heard arguments on bail conditions.

The defense filed a motion to lower the bail to $100,000 and the prosecution filed a motion to raise it to $5 million. It was previously set by a court commissioner at $1 million.

The prosecution's court documents cite new evidence obtained during the investigation since the deaths of Ashlee Steele and Kacee Tollefsbol on August 22 in the Steeles' house.

The document indicates Andy Steele planned their murders for a number of days. The prosecution claims multiple family members have said Steele insisted Tollefsbol visit his Fitchburg home alone, without her husband and children. Prosecutors also cite evidence Steele contemplated to his parents his "wife being absent in the future with regards to caring for the children" and signed wills for the couple just a few days before the murders.

The defense argues Steele's diagnosis of ALS in June would trigger the family to reconsider their future arrangements and is not out of the ordinary.

"I am unclear as to why the state is making a sentencing argument when we've just had arraignment," Nicholson told the court. "The purpose of bail is to ensure the defandant's appearance and to protect the public. It is not to pass judgement on a case with a presumption of innocent attached."

The document also states Steele left a note on his phone about his "meticulous planning", including "contemplating different methods of homicide."

Assistant District Attorney Paul Barnett says Ashlee and Kacee's family doesn't feel safe knowing Steele might make bail and get out of jail.

"They have repeatedly expressed to law enforcement and to our victim witness personnel they're concerned for their own safety if the defendant were released on bail," Barnett told the court.

Steele's attorney Jessa Nicholson argued the high bail was not attainable and should be lowered to a more reasonable amount. The defense also asked for bail conditions to be modified regarding Steele's restrictions to have no contact with his children, citing Steele's diagnosis earlier this year with a terminal illness.

"These are children that haven't had access to their father and this has got to be an incredibly overwhelming and confusing time for them," Nicholson told the media. "I think anything that can be done to give them a sense of normalcy is likely in their best interest."

McNamara decided Steele will not have contact with his children until he can hear from Steele's parents who will be caring for the 13-year-old and 10-year-old.

Barnett says he's happy to revisit the idea of Steele having contact with his kids if a professional supports the idea.

"I think it is fair to say that our concerns are with the best interest of those children," Barnett said after the hearing. "We're not trying to punish anybody at this stage of the proceedings by denying them access to their own children. We are concerned about the childrens' welfare and are proceeding accordingly."

Barnett declined to elaborate on any of the details in the prosecution's court documents indicating premeditation and did not share a possible motive, saying Wisconsin law doesn't require a motive for a successful prosecution.

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