Judge sends triple homicide suspect to arraignment

Detective testifies at preliminary hearing
Judge sends triple homicide suspect to arraignment

The man accused of killing three members of a family in Lafayette County was bound over for arraignment Monday after a preliminary hearing in Lafayette County Court.

Jaren Kuester, 31, is charged with killing 70-year-old Gary Thoreson; his 66-year-old wife, Chloe Thoreson; and his 76-year-old brother, Dean Thoreson, last month at their farmhouse near Wiota.

Judge sends triple homicide suspect to arraignment

Lafayette County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Joseph Thompson testified at the hearing. He told the court Kuester told him April 29 that he had killed three people with a fireplace poker and knife.

Thompson said Kuester told him he broke into Thoreson home after observing no one was there and that Kuester was confused during their interview on dates and times. Thompson said he surveyed the Thoreson home after Kuester’s interview, and that evidence corroborated Kuester’s account.

“He had a pair of sandals on (during the interview) and I could see that his feet had blood on him as well as his hands and his arms,” Thompson said in court.

The defense suggested Kuester could’ve gotten those injuries from his run through fields and woods, which he made naked.

Kuester’s public defender, Guy Taylor, later told reporters after an initial appearance last week that Kuester is being held in isolation. Taylor said he’s investigating Kuester’s mental state and whether he may have been using drugs. He also said he’s considering an insanity plea.

Kuester is being held on $3 million bond. His arraignment is scheduled for June 3.

Prosecutors declined comment after court. Members of the Thoreson family attended the hearing, but left quickly after adjournment.