Suspect in triple homicide makes initial court appearance - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Suspect in triple homicide makes initial court appearance

Jaren Kuester, 31 Jaren Kuester, 31

DARLINGTON (WKOW) -- The attorney for murder suspect Jaren Kuester says he's cooperative and competent, but confused. The Waukesha County man is accused of randomly killing three people in Lafayette County in late April.

He appeared in Lafayette County Court Friday for an initial appearance. Though it did not come up in court, Kuester's lawyer, Guy Taylor, says he's exploring an insanity plea.

Kuester faces three intentional homicide counts in the deaths of 70-year-old Gary Thoreson, his 66-year-old wife Chloe and his 76-year-old brother, Dean Thoreson. Police say Kuester killed all three Thoresons with a fireplace poker, after breaking into Gary and Chloe's home while they were on vacation.

Kuester's parents told the Wisconsin State Journal over the weekend that they believe the killings could have been prevented if Waukesha County officials had committed their son, like they asked.

"I think his confusion extends to his recollection, his grasp of the different between reality and delusion," Taylor says about his client's mental state. He says they're exploring the possibility of an insanity plea. "That's something I have to vigorously investigate," he says.

Friday, Kuester wore a bullet proof vest in court and kept his head down throughout the appearance. We're told members of his family and the victims' family were in court.

"The Thoreson family simply wants to extend their appreciation to the entire Wiota and Lafayette community and the community beyond for all of their outreaching support," Pastor Luke Smetters says on behalf of the family.

Kuester will appear in court on Monday afternoon for a preliminary hearing.


DARLINGTON (WKOW) -- The man accused of killing three people in rural Lafayette County made his initial court appearance Friday.

Jaren Kuester, 31, is charged with three counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide in the deaths of Gary Thoreson, 70, his wife Chloe Thoreson, 66, and his brother Dean Thoreson, 76. All three were found dead in the Thoreson's home in the Town of Wiota.

A criminal complaint shows Kuester killed all three with a fireplace poker. The complaint also says Kuester told investigators challenges in his life made him feel like things were "crashing and burning around him," so he got into his SUV and started driving.

Police say Kuester, from Waukesha, abandoned his vehicle in Green County, discarded much of his clothing and started walking. Authorities say he eventually came upon the Thoreson home in Lafayette County. Police say Kuester didn't know any of the victims.

Reporter Danielle Lama will have the latest from the Lafayette County Courthouse tonight on 27 News at 5 & 6.

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