Former deputy Steele to be released to parents' care - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Former deputy Steele to be released to parents' care

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Former Dane County sheriff's deputy Andrew Steele will be released to his parents' care, in connection to the case of Steele's killing of his wife and sister-in-law.

The 42-year old Steele is in the later stages of the terminal disease ALS.  While Steele is responsible for the 2014 fatal shootings of Ashlee Steele and Kaycee Tollefsbol in Fitchburg, a jury found Steele not guilty because of mental disease or defect.

Judge Nicholas McNamara Thursday approved a conditional release plan for Steele.  The plan will have live Steele live at an unspecified, private residence, with his parents his primary care-givers, although his attorneys say Steele will have round-the-clock in-home, professional medical care.

The brother of Ashlee Steele and Tollefsbol, Brad Putnam of Minnesota, testified Thursday he's concerned Steele could continue to have contact with his two children without notification of Putnam, one of the children's guardians.  Putnam says even though Steele has been housed at Mendota Mental Health facility, he's called his children's cell phones, without guardians being notified.

"How is that monster able to call a kid's cell phone from Mendota?"  Putnam asks.

A spokesperson for the state department of health services has yet to comment on whether Steele's actions were within rules.

Assistant Dane County District Attorney Andrea Raymond says a conditional release supervisor will be responsible for Steele adhering to terms of his release.  "I'm going to ask that she be dutiful,"  Raymond says.

Several nursing homes and other, similar care facilities had previously rejected proposals of admission of Steele, with the notoriety of Steele's killings of his wife and sister-in-law often cited as a factor in decisions to reject him.

Steele's attorney, Jessa Nicholson Goetz, says Steele's inability to walk or speak make it unlikely neighbors would have cause to object to his presence.  "I don't expect there will be a lot of interaction with neighbors and community members."

Steele was diagnosed with the muscle-wasting condition just months before the killings, and left his law enforcement position at the time of his diagnosis.

"He's very grateful to have the opportunity to die at home,"  Nicholson Goetz says.

"Unlike the deaths of his victims, his death will be a private passing,"  McNamara says.

Steele waived his right to attend Thursday's hearing.

"His victims, the Putnam family, the children left behind, the memories of Ashlee Steele and Kaycee Tollefsbol deserve one, last public acknowledgment of their infinite loss,"  McNamara says.


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