Plans for a plea deal for a man accused of killing three members of a family in Lafayette County were put on hold Friday when Jaren Kuester refused to answer questions from the judge.
Kuester, 31, is accused of killing Gary Thoreson, his wife, Chloe Thoreson and brother, Dean Thoreson in April at the couple's farmhouse in the small town of Wiota. He is facing five felony charges, including first-degree intentional homicide. Kuester pleaded not guilty to the charges June 3.
The judge tried to conduct a plea questionnaire with Kuester in court Friday, but Kuester refused to respond. Kuester stated, "If you tell me I can remain silent, I will remain silent."
The judge said then questioned whether Kuester was competent to stand trial and set a competency hearing for Oct. 25. A plea deal and potential trial were put on hold.
Prosecutors said Kuester drove from Waukesha to Green County April 26, abandoned his SUV, stripped off his clothes and ran through the woods. Police said he emerged from the woods in Lafayette County where he broke into the Thoresons' home.
Kuester's attorney, Guy Taylor, earlier said Kuester is competent for trial, but unable to distinguish reality from delusions about what happened the day the Thoresons were slain. Friday Taylor said if Kuester was to get medical care he could express himself in court.
- UW-Madison chosen by U.S DOT to test automated vehicles
- Janesville robotics team among top 10 in global competition, moves to final round
- EPA grant freeze could ‘pull rug out from under' UW-Madison research
- Man on trial for deadly shooting says he was fearful for his life
- Suspected serial thief steals again, police say
- State manufacturing tax credit continues to grow