Jurors will hear opening arguments on Tuesday in the insanity trial of a former Dane County sheriff’s deputy. Andy Steele, 40, has admitted shooting his wife and sister-in-law last year.
Judge Nicholas McNamara cautioned jurors that some evidence might be sensitive. “We want to minimize any potential embarrassment or undue discomfort, but we do need to know this information,” McNamara said, referencing Steele’s claim that he accidentally killed his wife during rough sex.
Steele was diagnosed with ALS two months prior to the shootings, and maintains he was not legally responsible for the deaths due to his illness. The jury of 10 women and five men, selected on Monday, will decide whether Steele will spend the rest of his life in prison, or be placed with the state Department of Health Services. Unlike an ordinary criminal case which requires unanimity, only 10 jurors will need to agree on a verdict.
Steele pleaded guilty on March 27 to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the August 22 shooting deaths of his wife, Ashlee Steele, 39, and her sister, Kacee Tollefsbol, 38. The trial is expected to last into next week.