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Crime and Court Roundup: Kuester expected to enter homicide pleas today

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Crime and Court Roundup: Kuester expected to enter homicide pleas today
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

A man charged with killing three members of a southwest Wisconsin family is scheduled to enter pleas this morning in Lafayette County. A 10 a.m. arraignment is planned for 31-year-old Jaren Kuester of Milwaukee. His attorney has said that Kuester appears mentally competent to help with his defense - but he could not separate delusions from reality on the day that Gary, Chloe, and Dean Thoreson were killed in late April at a family farmhouse near South Wayne. He's charged with three counts of homicide, burglary, and vehicle theft. Authorities said Kuester got angry when he went to a Waukesha animal shelter to see a pet that was killed two weeks earlier. He allegedly threatened shelter workers. Kuester was jailed for not paying an old citation, and was freed the next day when an employer paid the old fine. Officials said Kuester later abandoned his S-U-V in Green County, ran through a wooded area, broke into the Thoreson's home, killed them as they returned there, and then drove a victim's pick-up truck to his father's place in Waukesha. He was arrested in that city the next day. Kuester's parents said their son should have been committed after the animal shelter incident, but police said mental health officials did not have enough grounds to do that. The shelter did not press charges in the pet incident.

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Police in a Madison suburb say they'll use common sense in enforcing a new anti-bullying ordinance. It allows police in Monona to ticket the parents of children who are caught bullying others. The first violation carries a 114-dollar municipal court fine. Monona Police Chief Wally Ostrenga says the measure will only be used when parents don't cooperate in investigations of bullying by their kids. The chief says parents sometimes avoid talking to police, because they take children's side no-matter-what. Ostrenga says parents will not be ticketed if they try in good faith to address their children's behavior.

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An investigation continues into the death of a 21-month-old toddler in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis. Police responded to a mobile home on Saturday afternoon and found the child unresponsive. Efforts to resuscitate were not successful. Police and the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office were still trying to determine the circumstances of the child's death at last word.

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