Man who killed 3 at Wiota farmhouse to spend life in institution

Judge says no conditions for 31-year-old's release


A judge sentenced the man convicted of a triple murder on a Wiota farm last April to spend the rest of his life in a mental institution. 

Jaren Kuester, 31, of Waukesha, pleaded guilty in December to killing three rural Wiota residents. Judge William Foust found Kuester not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect Friday. That means Kuester is guilty of committing the murders but not legally responsible due to a mental condition.

Foust said there would be no conditions for Kuester’s release, and that Kuester would spend the rest of his life in an institution. 

Gary Thoreson, 70, his wife, 66-year-old Chloe Thoreson, and brother, 76-year-old Dean Thoreson were murdered at the couple’s farmhouse on Philippine Road. Police said Kuester beat the Thoresons to death with a fireplace poker. 

Thoreson’s adult children read emotional statements in court Friday.

Kuester originally pleaded guilty in June, then withdrew his plea moments later after speaking briefly with his attorney. Kuester’s attorney, Guy Taylor, has argued Kuester is competent but delusional about the day of the killing. 

Kuester was deemed competent to stand trial in court Dec. 4. 

Prosecutors had said Kuester drove from Waukesha to Green County April 26, abandoned his SUV, stripped off his clothes and ran through the woods. He emerged from the woods in Lafayette County where he broke into the Thoresons’ home.