Brother of murder victims in Steele case: ‘We did not see how justice was served’

Brother of murder victims in Steele case: ‘We did not see how justice was served’

The brother of two women killed at the hands of a former Dane County Deputy says he’s shocked and disappointed by a court verdict this week.

Brad Putnam was in court for the verdict early Thursday morning that found Andy Steele not criminally responsible for the deaths of Ashlee Steele and Kacee Tollefsbol, who are Putnam’s sisters.

“We weren’t expecting it to be that way,” Putnam said in an interview from his Minnesota home Friday. “Definitely we did not see how justice was served in this case.”

Steele pleaded guilty to the deaths of the two women, but not guilty by reason of mental disease of defect related to an ALS diagnosis last year. A jury found Steele was not criminally responsible in the murders after 10 hours of deliberations Wednesday into Thursday.

Putnam said his family is still absorbing the meaning of the verdict, but said he personally doesn’t feel justice was served.

“My view is my two sisters were killed by a man that they trusted, and how he is not responsible for taking their lives in that horrific manner we don’t understand,” Putnam said.

Putnam says now he’d like to hear from the jury as to why they decided that Steele’s ALS was the reason for the killings.

“The way I look at it due to their verdict he may have the opportunity to spend the rest of his life potentially with his family,” Putnam said. “My sisters were not given that opportunity because of him.”

Putnam says he knows others with ALS and feels it isn’t acceptable to blame the disease.

“I understand that he was dealt a tough hand in life, but there are also many people dealt a tough hand in life and I like to believe they deal with that with strength and dignity,” Putnam said. “I truly feel that Andy dealt with his with cowardness [sic], and my sisters paid the ultimate price.”

Now, the family of the two women say they will focus on remembering Ashlee and Kacee as happy and fun-loving, and not as they died.

“We’ll do our best to keep their memories alive and make sure their children remember the kind and loving people that they were,” Putnam said.

Steele has been committed to the Department of Health Services for life, but will face a court hearing in a month or so to determine whether he will be sent to an institution or be released to his family. Putnam said his family plan to be in court for that decision.