Trial date set for Andrew Steele

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UPDATED Monday, November 17, 2014 --- 12:55 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. --- A trial date has been set for Andrew Steele, the former deputy who is charged with killing his wife and sister-in-law.

The April 13th trial date was set during a hearing today. Steele, who is suffering from ALS, was in a wheelchair while in court.

Steele is accused of shooting and killing his wife and sister-in-law in his Fitchburg home in August.

Steele retired from the Dane County Sheriff's Office after being diagnosed with ALS.

Steele is charged with two counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide. One of those counts includes a charge of Domestic Violence against Steele's wife.


UPDATED: Thursday, September 11th, 2014 ---- 7:30 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. --- In court Thursday, prosecutors say Andrew Steele, the former Dane County Sheriff's Deputy planned the murders of his wife and sister-in-law.
According to court documents, Steele left a note on his phone detailing his plan, including different methods of homicide. They say, Steele was "insistent" that Kacee, his sister-in-law visit their home without her husband and children.
The defendant also signed his will, and his wife's will within 36 hours of the homicides.
Family members have also communicated to authorities that Steele told them his wife may be absent in the future to care for their two children.
His bail was raised to $2 million.

UPDATED Thursday, September 4, 2014 --- 10:42 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. -- There is sufficient evidence for a former Dane County deputy to stand trial on two homicide charges, according to the judge in Andrew Steele's preliminary hearing.

Dane County Circuit Judge Steven Ebert made the decision during a hearing where a detective testified one of the victims told him Steele was the man who did the shooting.

Steele is accused of killing his wife and sister-in-law in his Fitchburg home last month.

The sister-in-law, Kacee Tollefsbol, was able to tell police that Steele shot her. She was shot in the back. Steele's wife, Ashlee, was shot in the head.

Steele resigned his job with Dane County in June when he was diagnosed with ALS.


UPDATED Thursday, September 4, 2014 --- 5:20 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former southern Wisconsin sheriff's deputy accused of killing his wife and sister-in-law is due back in court.

Andrew Steele is scheduled to appear in Dane County Circuit Court on Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing. That's the step in the legal process where a judge decides whether there's enough evidence to order a trial.

Prosecutors charged Steele last week with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the deaths of his wife, Ashlee Steele, and sister-in-law, Kacee Tollefsbol. Police found both women shot in the Steeles' home in Fitchburg, a Madison suburb, on Aug. 22.

Steele resigned from the Dane County Sheriff's Department in June after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

UPDATED Sunday, August 31, 2014 --- 10:38 p.m.

Friends, neighbors, co-workers and community members gathered in Fitchburg tonight to remember and honor Ashlee Steele and Kacee Tollefsbol.

"She was always just so full of joy and ready with a smile," said Ashlee's friend and co-worker, Elsa Gumm.

The vigil was the first opportunity for people to come together in Fitchburg to remember Ashlee. The sisters' family held a funeral service for both women in Minnesota on Friday.

Church leaders spoke tonight, emphasizing the importance of coming together during the difficult time.

"All we can do is encourage people that this will all work out in some way," said Rev. Phil Haslanger with Memorial United Church of Christ.

Multiple churches came together to hold the candlelight vigil tonight and offer support for each other.

Ashlee's pastor, Jeff Meyer, remembered her as a woman who radiated with positivity.

"Ashlee lit up every room she walked into," he said.

UPDATED Friday, August 29, 2014 -- 1:40 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. --- The former Dane County deputy accused of killing his wife and sister-in-law has been charged.

Andrew Steele is officially charged with two counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide. One of those counts includes a charge of Domestic Violence against Steele's wife.

Andrew Steele had an initial court appearance Friday afternoon. He appeared via video from the Rock County Jail. The Dane County judge set bail at $1 million and told Steele he could not have contact with his children.

Last Friday 39-year-old Ashlee Steele and her sister 38-year-old Kacee Tollesbol were shot and killed inside the Steele's home in Fitchburg.

Before she died Kacee told responding officers that Andrew Steele had shot her in the back.

Andrew Steele was found inside the home and taken into custody.

The funeral for Ashlee and Kacee is today in Minnesota.

Steele retired from the Dane County Sheriff's Office shortly after being diagnosed with ALS. There are no reports of police calls to the Steele home before last Friday.

Andrew Steele's next court hearing is scheduled for September 4th.


UPDATED: Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) -- Family members say they've been told a recently retired Wisconsin sheriff's deputy is due in court this week in the shooting deaths of his wife and sister-in-law.

Dan DuPuis of Hudson, an uncle of the two sisters, says the Dane County district attorney authorized him to say that former Deputy Andy Steele is out of the hospital and now in jail.

Police say Steele was treated at a hospital for injuries consistent with a suicide attempt.
DuPuis says Steele makes his first court appearance Friday via closed circuit TV. Steele hasn't been charged yet.

Steele was arrested after an attack at his Fitchburg home Friday that left his wife, Ashlee Steele, and her sister, Kacee Tollefsbol, dead.

DuPuis says Andy Steele was struggling with his recent ALS diagnosis.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press
UPDATED: Monday, August 25th, 2014 ----- 10:50 pm

New details in the horrific crime in Fitchburg, with a Dane County Sheriff's Deputy accused of killing his wife and sister-in-law. Authorities have released the affidavit; where one of the women tells a 911 dispatcher 39-year-old Andy Steele was the person who shot her before she died.

According to police, 38-year-old Kacee Tollefsbol was still alive when authorities arrived at the home on Friday. She died shortly after arriving at the hospital, from a from a gunshot wound to the back. Her sister and also Andy Steele's wife, Ashlee, was found in the home with a gunshot wound to the head. The medical examiner confirms she died from that injury.

Andy Steele was found in the first floor laundry room with a handgun nearby but did not have a gunshot wound.
He's currently being treated at a Milwaukee hospital for injuries consistent with a suicide attempt.
Memorial funds have been opened to benefit the children. If you would like to donate you can at any Wells Fargo branch. A celebration of life service is scheduled for Friday at 2 pm in Stillwater, Minnesota.


UPDATED: Monday, August 24, 2014 --- 6:00 p.m.

STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) -- A funeral is planned this week in Minnesota for two sisters who were fatally shot in Wisconsin.

An obituary notice says a celebration of life will be held Friday at 2 p.m. for 39-year-old Ashlee Steele and 38-year-old Kacee Tollefsbol. The service will take place at the Church of St. Michael in Stillwater.

The sisters were fatally shot at Steele's home in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, last Friday. Steele's husband, retired Dane County sheriff's deputy Andrew Steele, has been arrested in the shootings.

Andrew Steele retired in June after he was diagnosed with ALS. Charges have not been filed.

The Steeles have two children while Tollefsbol, who lived in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, was the mother of four.

Memorial funds have been set up at Wells Fargo to benefit the sisters' children.

UPDATED: Sunday, August 24, 2014 --- 9:20 p.m.

Friends and co-workers are mourning the loss of Ashlee Steele tonight. She's being remembered as a loving mom, wife, friend and teacher.

Ashlee taught three-year-old's at Christ Memorial Preschool in Fitchburg. Karen Hettenbach, Preschool Director, was friends with Ashlee for years, and can't comprehend her friend and fellow teacher is gone.

"It was fun to look in her classroom and see the kids all excited, and she was the reason why," Hettenbach said.

Ashlee was supposed to have a new class starting in two weeks. In the meantime, grief counselors will be on hand starting this week for parents, students, staff and anyone needing some support.

"We're all kind of numb. It's absolutely tragic, horrible," said Lead Pastor Jeff Meyer.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said his team is struggling to understand what transpired in the Steele's home Friday.

"We struggle as an organization and as individuals to come to grips with what occurred, because there was no indication that there was trouble, that there was this kind of risk," Mahoney said Sunday in a press conference.

Andy never had any personnel issues or problems during his time as a Dane County deputy, and Mahoney called him an "exemplary employee" up until the day he left in June following his ALS diagnosis.

Hettenbach said Ashlee dedicated much of her time to the Tough as Steele campaign to raise money for Andy's care. The fundraising page has since been taken down, but had raised more than 20,000 dollars in a few weeks.

"It breaks my heart that this is how it ended, I want people to know she was the driving force behind all o the support they've gotten," she said.

UPDATED: Sunday, August 24, 12:30 a.m.

From Fitchburg Police:

The Fitchburg Police Department has arrested the suspect responsible for a double homicide which occurred on August 22, 2014 at 3038 Yarmouth Greenway in the City of Fitchburg.

The suspect is identified as ANDREW P. STEELE, Male White, 39 year of age who resides at 3038 Yarmouth Greenway.

The homicide victims have been identified by the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office as the suspect’s wife, Ashlee C. Steele 39 years of age who resided at 3038 Yarmouth Greenway and Ashlee’s sister, Kacee M. Tollesbol 38 year of age, a resident of Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

The investigation is ongoing. No additional information related to the investigation is available at this time.

UPDATED Saturday, August 23, 2014 -- 10:31 p.m.

The Dane County Medical Examiner's has released the names of the two homicide victims.

The two victims, 38-year-old Kacee Tollesbol from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and 39-year-old Ashlee Steele from Fitchburg. Both autopsies of the women confirm that they were the victim of homicidal violence.

An active investigation is still ongoing.

UPDATED Saturday, August 23, 2014 -- 7:09 p.m.

Fitchburg Police Lt. Todd Stetzer confirms a male suspect is in custody at a local hospital where he is being treated for injuries after a deadly shooting Friday afternoon.

In a press conference on scene Saturday, Stetzer was joined by Fitchburg Mayor Shawn Pfaff, who called it a "sad day in Fitchburg."

He shared his condolences and thoughts.

"On behalf of the City of Fitchburg, I cannot express deep sadness of what occurred yesterday...I feel for the families that are involved," he said.

Neighbors did not want to speak on camera, but many said they knew the family well.

They also say the shooting happened at the home of former Dane County Deputy Andy Steele, who was recently diagnosed with ALS and took part in the ice bucket challenge with NBC15 reporter Lindsey Branwall.

Officials will not confirm if Steele was involved in the shooting.

"Identities of the victims and of the suspect can not be released at this time, however the medical examiner will be the one who releases the names of the victims," Stezter said.

Neighbors also say the family had two children, but officials say they were not in danger.

Stetzer said that the victims and the suspect knew each other, but would not comment further on the exact relation.

Mayor Pfaff called the neighborhood "strong with close families", and said "there is going to have to be some healing going on up [there] and there is going to be residents that have to hug and talk."

Two people died in the shooting Friday afternoon in the 3000 block of Yarmouth Greenway Drive in Fitchburg.


UPDATED Friday, August 22, 2014 -- 10:00 p.m.

Two women are dead and one suspect is injured after a shooting on Yarmouth Greenway Drive in Fitchburg.

Neighbors tell us it is the house of former Dane County Sheriff's Deputy Andy Steele, who was recently diagnosed with ALS.

Last week NBC15 showed you a clip of Anchor John Stofflet pouring an ice bucket over Madison Police Chief Koval as support after Steele's diagnosis.

We can not confirm that Steele was involved in the shooting or at home at the time.

Fitchburg Police first responded to the scene shortly after 12 p.m. Friday.

"Upon arrival we found a female who was shot, and is now deceased... a second female was also located in the residence deceased," Lt. Todd Stetzter explained.

At the time it was unsure whether the suspect was outside or inside the house, so officers from Fitchburg Police, Madison Police as well as the Dane County Sheriff's Office geared up heavily.

K9's and tactical units surrounded the area to search for the suspect.

"[He] was subsequently located in the residence and is currently at the hospital being treated," Stetzer said.

The suspect's injuries are still unknown.

Neighbor Nathan Roth says what happened to today is simply unusual.

"I don't think this is normal, this doesn't happen that often so I kind of hope it's more of an isolated incident."

Roth has lived in the area for about 6 years.

"You know there are a mix of apartments and condos and some townhouses in this know we walk through here with our kids and we bike ride and its usually a really quiet area," he said.

Today that quiet area was anything but that.

Lt. Stetzter also said that a responding deputy was sent to the hospital with minor injuries.

The victims and the suspect have not yet been identified.

UPDATED Friday, August 22, 2014 -- 5:43 p.m.

FITCHBURG, Wis. -- Around 12:15 p.m., police swarmed to the neighborhood where the shooting took place.

Lt. Todd Stetzer says officers found one woman shot in the home. She was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Another woman was also found in the home. She died at the scene. Both had been shot.

Deputy Police Chief Donald Bates says the suspect's injuries were not inflicted by police but didn't elaborate. The suspect's condition has not been released.

While police searched the neighborhood, Bates says officers found the suspect inside the home.

The victims have not yet been identified, and authorities aren't saying if they're related.

A neighbor has confirmed to us this is the home of Andy Steele, a retired Sheriff's Deputy who was recently diagnosed with ALS.


UPDATED Friday, August 22, 2014 -- 4:19 p.m.

FITCHBURG, Wis. --- Fitchburg police says a shooting in a home ended with two women dead and the suspect taken to the hospital.

Police found one woman shot in the home. She was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Another woman was also found in the home. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She had also been shot.

A man, believed to be the suspect in this shooting, was taken to a hospital. No information on his injuries were released.

This happened on Yarmouth Greenway Dr., right off McKee Rd.


UPDATED Friday, August 22, 2014 --- 2:45 p.m.

FITCHBURG, Wis. -- Police in Fitchburg are looking for the shooter who left at least one person injured.

The shooting happened Friday afternoon on Yarmouth Greenway Dr., right off McKee Rd.

Police are asking people to avoid the area for now and asking people who live in the area, and that are at home, to remain inside their homes.

Fitchburg Police, Madison Police and Dane County Sheriff's Office are all at the scene.


Friday August 22, 2014

FITCHBURG, Wis. --- Police in Fitchburg confirm they are investigating a shooting.

NBC 15 News has a crew at the scene where multiple law enforcement cars are gathered. This is on Yarmouth Greenway Dr.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story.

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