A Wisconsin woman accused in a gruesome murder and subsequent dismemberment was deemed competent to stand trial by a psychological evaluator, a judge announced on Wednesday.
Taylor Denise Schabusiness, 24, will still undergo an additional series of tests to make sure she’s mentally fit to be prosecuted on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse, and third-degree sexual assault. Those charges stem from an alleged late February meth-fueled sex-murder-sex romp that ended with 25-year-old Shad Thyrion dead and cut to pieces by means of a serrated bread knife.
“That report has some specific findings, indicating that, according to this evaluator, Ms. Schabusiness is competent to proceed,” Judge Tom Walsh said, apparently surprising the defendant’s attorney, according to courtroom reporting by Green Bay ABC affiliate WBAY.
“At this point, my client would be seeking a second examination,” defense attorney Quinn Jolly said during the brief hearing on Wednesday morning. “The court must appoint one examiner but can appoint more. After review of the report and the examiner’s comments to the court, the court should remain sensitive in the event of any signs of fluctuations in her overall mental status and behavioral stability, such changes may signal fluctuation in her capacity.”
The Law&Crime Network’s Sierra Gillespie reported that Jolly also made the case that his client has been receiving mental health treatment since she was a 7th grader. In bidding for the second competency evaluation, the defense attorney said Schabusiness has previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Brown County District Attorney Dave Lasee, for his part, said he respected the results of the first evaluation but didn’t feel strongly either way about the defense’s request for an additional one.
“I would note, Dr. Collins is highly respected, and she’s the head of that particular unit and does a number of these, very experienced and does a number of these evaluations,” Lasee told the court. “We’ve accepted her reports on countless occasions. I’m not sure that the county or state should pay for a second evaluation. I know there are other alternatives. The defense is entitled to have an expert evaluate their client at any time under the statute, so I won’t take a strong position one way or the other. I just wanted to note that we highly respect Dr. Collins’s opinions on this issues.”
The money issue ended up being the major sticking point — with the merits of the issue essentially decided in the defendant’s favor. Jolly said he would put in a request to fund the second competency evaluation through the Badger State’s public defender office. The judge replied that if the request for state funding was denied, the court needed to be apprised as soon as possible.
In the end, Walsh set a status conference for May 10, 2022 — roughly 30 days from now — in order to allow the defense to secure funding for a second competency evaluation. The results of that second round of testing would be discussed or disputed then.
Prosecutors allege the defendant murdered her victim, admittedly had sex with his body for several hours, and then mutilated his corpse over the course of a meth-fueled rampage earlier this year.
Said to have an infatuation-like appreciation for serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, Schabusiness, when arrested, “responded that the police were going to have fun trying to find all of the organs,” according to Brown County Assistant District Attorney Caleb Saunders.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, the defendant admittedly tried to bring her victim to a state of unconsciousness during sex by choking him with a metal chain, but she failed and blacked out to find him already dead. Insisting the murder was accidental, she allegedly admitted to have “liked” the fact of his death after it occurred.
Officers originally arrived to the victim’s home when his mother found his severed head in a bucket. Police say they also found what they described as a “male organ” in a plastic container on the premises. The man’s legs were found in a crockpot box behind the driver’s seat of the van Schabusiness had been driving, police claim. The rest of Thyrion’s body was discovered in various bags.
“Schabusiness stated she used knives that she obtained from the kitchen of the residence and that a bread knife worked the best because of the serrated blade,” the criminal complaint alleges. “Schabusiness stated the knives should be in a black bag along with the body parts in the basement. Schabusiness indicated that she would use whatever bags she found in the basement to place the body parts into. Schabusiness made the comment that at one point, she did get paranoid and lazy and that she thought it was the ‘dope’ that was making her paranoid.”
The defendant is currently being detained on $2 million cash bond in the Brown County, Wis. jail.
[images via Brown County Jail]
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