Second competency exam allowed for woman charged in murder and dismemberment case

The murder suspect's attorney was surprised she was found competent for trial, saying she has a long psychiatric history
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 5:48 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Green Bay woman charged in a murder and dismemberment case will be allowed to undergo a second psychiatric evaluation before determining if she’s competent to stand trial.

At a very short hearing Wednesday morning, lasting 11 minutes, a judge told the court the first psych exam found Taylor Schabusiness, 24, is competent to stand trial. Schabusiness is charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, Mutilating a Corpse, and 3rd Degree Sexual Assault.

“That report has some specific findings, indicating that, according to this evaluator, Ms. Schabusiness is competent to proceed,” said Judge Tom Walsh. Little other information about the exam is made public.

Defense attorney Quinn Jolly told the court he was “surprised” to hear those results and asked for a second evaluation.

“At this point, my client would be seeking a second examination. The court must appoint one examiner but can appoint more,” said Jolly. “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.”

Jolly continued, “Ms. Schabusiness has been receiving mental health treatment since the seventh grade. She’s been psychiatrically hospitalized multiple times. She’s been diagnosed with bipolar and psychotic. This may have been one of her better days, however I’m very surprised at the result of this report.”

The Taylor Schabusiness we saw in court Wednesday in a teleconference from the Brown County Jail was a calm woman who stayed seated, made eye contact with the camera repeatedly and appeared to be listening closely, and even smiled for the camera.

On March 17 we barely saw her face as she was fidgety, moved around, leaned against a wall, and the judge noted she appeared to have little interest in the court proceedings.

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Taylor Schabusiness's defense attorney defense says she has a long psychiatric history and was surprised she was found competent to stand trial.

Judge Walsh told the court he would allow a second evaluation to be conducted but questioned doing it at taxpayers’ expense, adding the examiner who found Schabusiness competent has been used in other court cases and found to have been reliable and trustworthy with her exams.

“It sounds like you’re looking to the court to say, ‘Don’t believe the first one you picked. Pick somebody else,’” the judge said.

“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,” said District Attorney David Lasee. “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 these issues.”

The judge gave Jolly 30 days to get funding and get an evaluation completed. Jolly said he will ask for funding for an independent evaluation through the State Public Defender but has not been approved at this time. If it’s not approved, the judge wants to know as soon as possible.

A hearing is scheduled for May 10. That’s when we’ll find out if the case will proceed or if prosecutors will contest the findings of the new exam.

Prosecutors allege Schabusiness murdered Shad Thyrion during a sexual encounter at his mother’s home in the 800 block of Stony Brook Lane and then dismembered his body.

Police were called to the residence early in the morning of Feb. 23 after Shad’s mother found her son’s severed head in a bucket in her basement. Additional body parts were discovered in the home and in Schabusiness’s van.

After Schabusiness was arrested, she told police she and Thyrion had been doing drugs. After they arrived at the home, they had sex and incorporated chains. Schabusiness said she blacked out during part of it but just went “crazy” and started strangling Thyrion.

Schabusiness told investigators she did not mean to kill Thyrion but she enjoyed choking him and continued to do it. Prosecutors say the sexual assault charge is for acts that happened after the victim died.

The criminal complaint reads, “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. 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.”

She’s being held on a $2 million cash bond.

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