Steele to plead not guilty by reason of mental disease in double homicide

Steele ordered to stay in institution; says ‘I caused their death’
Andrew Steele

Court records indicate a former Dane County sheriff’s deputy will plead not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in a double homicide last August.

Andrew Steele was charged in August in the deaths of his wife, Ashlee Steele, and sister-in-law, Kacee Tollefsbol, who were shot in the Steeles’ Fitchburg home on Aug. 22. Steele was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, and pleaded not guilty to the crimes in September.

During a court hearing in November, Steele appeared in court in a wheelchair. Steele was diagnosed with ALS the summer before the crimes. His family had been trying to raise money for his medical care at the time of the killings.

According to court documents filed Wednesday, Steele’s ALS progression has affected the emotional response center of his brain, which can cause poor impulse control and loss of memory.

Three doctors are expected to testify to the fact that damage to Steele’s brain could “affect behavioral characteristics leading to disinhibition, striking personality changes and loss of restraint in personal relations and social life, including the inability to conform one’s conduct to the law,” the documents say.

Four doctors are also expected to testify that the effects of the brain damage caused Steele to be particularly susceptible to prescription and over-the-counter medications as part of an involuntary intoxication defense.

Court documents claim Steele planned the homicides of his wife and sister-in-law for “a number of days” and left a note on his phone detailing his plan.

Assistant District Attorney Andrea Raymond said evidence collected by the state shows Steele “was insistent” that Tollefsbol visit the Steele family in Fitchburg alone, “leaving her newlywed husband and children in Minnesota.”

Raymond said Steele signed his will and his wife’s will within 36 hours of the homicides, and in communications with his parents “contemplates his wife being absent in the future.”

The DA’s Office claims Steele left a note on his phone detailing his plan, “including contemplating different methods of homicide,” in an effort that Raymond called “meticulous.”

Steele is scheduled to be back in court for a motion hearing March 27.