Jury seated for man charged with killing his children in Kaukauna

The pool of 102 prospective jurors were asked their feelings about seeing crime scene photos and the possibility of another person killing the two children
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:58 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:52 PM CST
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OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A jury is seated for a Manitowoc man charged with killing his two young children in Kaukauna almost 3 years ago. A jury of 10 men and 5 women, including the alternates, will hear the case of Matthew Beyer.

Beyer, 38, is charged with two counts of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide for the 2020 killings of 5-year-old William Beyer and 3-year-old Danielle Beyer, who were stabbed to death in their mother’s home.

The defense and prosecution whittled down a pool of 102 potential jurors.

Opening statements will start at 8:30 Friday morning.

More than 100 potential jurors in the Matthew Beyer homicide trial.
More than 100 potential jurors in the Matthew Beyer homicide trial.(WBAY)

During jury selection, potential jurors were asked if they’d be able to handle seeing crime scene and autopsy photos as part of the State’s case. They were asked if they had any opinions or beliefs about Beyer’s guilt or innocence.

The defense attorney not only asked the jury if they understood it’s the State’s responsibility to prove Beyer’s guilt but also if they’d be open to testimony, as part of his defense, that someone else was responsible for killing the children.

The trial is scheduled for 12 days in Outagamie County Court but could wrap earlier depending on when both sides rest.

The State is expected to begin by calling a couple of police officers and possibly the children’s mother to the witness stand.

The Beyer children were found dead in their mother’s home in Kaukauna on February 17, 2020. According to a criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News, the children were found in their bedroom with injuries to their necks, which one officer described as “almost a hole.” Autopsies found William and Danielle suffered five to eight sharp force injuries to their necks. William also had two shallow cuts to his hands, which prosecutors say indicates the boy put up a fight.

A witness told police that a week after the children were murdered, Beyer described in detail how he would have killed the children so they couldn’t scream out and alert anyone. The witness said Beyer didn’t believe he was their father and was upset about having to pay child support when the mother wouldn’t let him see the children.

Beyer said he hadn’t been to Kaukauna for two months, but detectives pieced together videos from traffic and home doorbell cameras following a silver minivan like Beyer’s along a route from his driveway in Manitowoc to Kaukauna and back.

In a separate case, Beyer was sentenced to five years in prison in an attempted jail escape in Outagamie County.

A criminal complaint says Beyer provided another inmate, Demetrius Williams, with a piece of cardboard inmates use as a privacy shield when using the bathroom. Williams hid behind the cardboard in the dayroom and surprised an officer when she came to ensure inmates were in their cells.

Williams restrained the guard and threatened her with a pointed pencil. He insisted that Beyer was coming with him and ordered her to open Beyer’s cell. The guard agreed but pressed the button to open a different cell door instead, distracting Williams just long enough to get out of his reach and run down the hallway and yell for help.

Williams was later sentenced to 45 years for killing a 3-year-old girl and trying to kill her pregnant mother in Appleton.