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Jaren Kuester sentenced to life in mental institution for triple homicide

DARLINGTON, WI (WTAQ) - A Waukesha man was ordered Friday to spend the rest of his life in a mental institution for brutally killing three retired members of a family in rural Lafayette County.

Jaren Kuester turns 32 Saturday. He pleaded guilty in December to the beating and stabbing deaths of Gary, Chloe, and Dean Thoreson. They were attacked with a fireplace poker last April when they entered their family's farmhouse near South Wayne, in which Kuester had earlier broken into.

District Attorney Kate Findley said the crimes were among the most vicious ever committed in Lafayette County. She said folks there remain frightened, knowing that Kuester had chosen his victims at random.

Kuester told visiting Judge William Foust that he had lost touch with reality -- and he never imagined anything like this happening. 

Authorities said a series of incidents was triggered when Kuester went to a Waukesha animal shelter to see his pet, and he threatened employees who told him the pet died two weeks earlier.

Officials said he later drove to Green County where he abandoned an SUV, ran through a wooded area, broke into the Thoreson house, killed the Thoresons when they returned, and then drove a victim's pickup truck to his father's home in Waukesha -- where he was arrested.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)