A Waukesha man charged in the grisly murders of three members of a southwest Wisconsin family, tried to plead guilty to the charges during his arraignment Monday. Jaren Kuester stood up to announce a guilty plea, after Circuit Judge William Johnston read all the charges against him, and asked defense attorney Guy Taylor how his client would plead.
“The defense stands mute at this time,” said Taylor. “I’d like to plead guilty, sir,” interjected Kuester.
After a brief discussion, Taylor announced Kuester would stand mute, and the court entered not guilty pleas on all the charges. Judge Johnston then announced he would honor the defense request to have a new judge handle the case. Taylor has also filed a change of venue request.
The 31 year-old Kuester is charged in the deaths of 70 year-old Gary Thoreson, his wife, 66 year-old Chloe Thoreson, and brother, 76 year-old Dean Thoreson. Their bodies were found in Gary and Cloe Thoreson’s home on the morning of April 28.
Kuester is accused of killing all three family members with a fireplace poker. According to the criminal complaint, Kuester drove from, Kuester drove from Waukesha on April 26, abandoned his car, stripped off his clothing and ran through the woods before breaking into the Thoreson home. The next day, according to the complaint, he killed Dean Thoreson by beating him with the poker after he came to check on the house, according to the complaint. Later that night, he killed the Thoreson couple when they returned home, again using the poker.
Kuester then drove Dean Thoreson’s pickup truck back to Waukesha, where police arrested him later on the same day the bodies were discovered.
WGLR’s Bob Middendorf contributed to this report