Update – August 12, 2020, 8:46 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect that the defendant was convicted of the murders in the first phase of trial. Now both sides must fight over whether he’s not guilty by reason of insanity or mental defect.
Wisconsin man Jacob Cayer, 30, remains on trial in the June 7, 2016 murders of his ex-girlfriend Sabrina Teague, 23, and her mother Heesun “Sunny” Teague, 64. You can watch in the player above. Phase two is set to begin Thursday, August 13, at 10 a.m. CT / 11 a.m. ET.
Prosecutors said the defendant went to the Teague home in a fit of rage after arguing with his father, killed Sunny, then ambushed Sabrina and her boyfriend Joel Kennedy when they arrived.
Jurors determined on Wednesday, August 12 that he did it. The question now is whether the defendant is mentally culpable under the law.
Cayer had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity or mental defect. It wasn’t necessarily the first choice of defense. In March, Brown County Judge Tammy Jo Hock denied a defense motions’ request to allow them to provide alternate suspects. They wanted to argue at trial that two other men kidnapped Cayer and framed him for the murders, according to WLUK. In the this version of events, the alleged motive was that these killers feared what Cayer might tell cops about other crimes. Hock said this motion lacked logic, and pointed out one of the alternate suspects were in jail at the time of the Teague murders.
At trial, the prosecution dismissed any suggestion that others could’ve been responsible, or Cayer’s story that people had kidnapped him and shoved him through the window of the residence.
“It’s absurd, right?” said Brown County Deputy District Attorney Dana Johnson in closing arguments.
The defendant’s mental state was a recurring element in the pre-trial hearings. The trial was delayed six times as the judge occasionally considered him incompetent to face the allegations against him. Dr. Christina Engen of the Wisconsin Forensic Unit had testified that she did not think Cayer understood the gravity of this case. The defendant thought he was going to be found innocent, and was “gleeful” when talking about the case, she said according to WBAY.
#AMBUSHEDatHOME – In Jacob Cayer’s final hearing last week via Zoom, he flipped off the camera and eventually his feed went down. The jail confirmed he threw the iPad. He has acted out multiple times in court and is pleading not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. https://t.co/TUaHtvS6N5 pic.twitter.com/jwkr4jVjku
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) August 7, 2020
Sabrina’s sister Sarama Teague remembered the women as “more than the ex-girlfriend and the mother.” She told The Green Bay Press Gazette, “They were fully complex human beings, beautiful people, and I just want people to know that, and that I loved them.”
Their mother Sunny was a character, who arrived in the United States from South Korea in 1983, was proud of her barbecue chicken, had a quirky way of posing for pictures, and enjoyed telling the girls gossip about her Post Office coworkers, Sarama said. Heesun Teague had recently retired from USPS at the time of the murders.
Sabrina was going to start school at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to become a social worker, her sister said. She dreamed of starting a half-way house.
“One of her dreams was opening a halfway house for troubled teens that didn’t have supportive homes,” Sarama said. “She believed nobody should ever suffer alone, and she was there for everybody.”
[Mugshot via Brown County Jail]
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