Matthew Beyer convicted of killing his children, swiftly sentenced to life without parole

Jurors reached a verdict in less than an hour, and Beyer was sentenced less than an hour after the verdict was read
Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 2:19 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2022 at 9:18 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - It was swift justice in Outagamie County Tuesday afternoon when jurors found Matthew Beyer guilty of killing his two young children, reaching a verdict less than an hour after starting deliberations.

Then the judge sentenced Beyer to two life prison terms without parole less than an hour after the verdict was read.

The jury heard closing arguments Tuesday morning on whether Beyer could have stabbed and killed his two children, 5-year-old William and 3-year-old Danielle, at their mother’s house in Kaukauna in February 2020.

Jurors had a lunch break and started deliberations at about 1:30. The court announced they reached a verdict about 10 minutes after 2. The court waited for family members to arrive.

Beyer was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a crime that carries life in prison.

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The jury started deliberations. About two hours later, Matthew Beyer was serving two life sentences with no hope for parole.

“The defendant had the opportunity to murder Will and Dani in the early hours of February 17th,” the prosecution told jurors in closing arguments.

Reporter Emily Beier says the defendant showed no emotion when the verdicts were read but the children’s mother was fighting back tears.

The judge and both sides confirmed they are ready to move to the sentencing phase and the judge scheduled that to happen immediately, at 3 p.m. Beier was brought back into the courtroom, now wearing an orange jail jumpsuit instead of a dress shirt.

William and Danielle’s mother, stepfather and stepgrandfather made emotional statements. Beyer didn’t turn to face Melissa or Tyler Schuth or Kevin Schuth when they pleaded to the judge to sentence Beyer to life without the eligibility for parole.

“We’re not going to get to see them grow up, to see what they become in life or what they were gonna do. Not only did we lose our children, their families, our community, lost two valuable little people that never ever got to see anything further than 5 and 3, and nothing, even him being found guilty, will ever change that hole in my heart,” Melissa Schuth cried.

Beyer remained emotionless, as he did through the entire trial.

The prosecutor said Beyer was not a father to his two young children.

“It’s no wonder why they called Tyler ‘Dad’ sometimes, because to a kid a dad is the person who is there every day, on the ins and the outs, the hard and good days, the fun times and the bad times. That’s a dad. That was Tyler. That’s who they saw, because their biological dad, he didn’t show. They’d drive to Brillion thinking they were gonna see him and he wouldn’t even show up. That’s what happened on the 15th, two days before he killed them,” prosecutor Mindy Tempelis said.

Judge Mark McGinnis said this ruling was a first for him, giving someone life without the possibility of parole.

“There’s typically a benefit to provide someone going to prison for a life sentence, an opportunity to have a date in the future where if they behave, there’s a chance they’re going to be released and back into the community. I’ve done that in every one of my cases. For you, Mr. Beyer, it’s not going to happen.”

Kaukauna Mayor Tony Penterman released a statement after the verdict: “For just over 1000 days this black cloud has hung over our community. With the jury’s guilty verdict today the sun can begin to shine again and as a community we can begin to heal. And we can finally celebrate that justice has been served for Will and Dani.”

Before the jury went into deliberations, the closing arguments were dramatic and emotional.

“Cut! Cut! Cut! Cut! Cut! Cut from him!” prosecutor Tempelis demonstrated the swing of an imaginary weapon into the victims.

“And Will, waking up with that light, I can’t even imagine,” Tempelis said, “because when he fought, he gave it his all, that little guy.” Five-year-old Will was found dead out of his bed, with wounds to his neck and cuts to his hands.

The defense tried to create doubt. On its only day presenting testimony Monday, the defense called six witnesses, including a man who was considered a person of interest early in the investigation, but a police detective testified that video evidence confirmed his alibi.

Investigators said Beyer, the children’s biological father, changed his story numerous times while being questioned about the murders. Beyer, who lived in Manitowoc, insisted he hadn’t been to Kaukauna in months, but detectives pieced together traffic and security cameras showing him travel from his driveway to the children’s house. Jurors heard Beyer’s interview with investigators in which he pointed fingers at his brother and said sleepwalking could explain the murders and also said he went into their home because of a “fifth sense” that something was wrong.

Jurors said Beyer’s motive was that he wanted to stop paying child support. Witnesses said Beyer questioned whether he was the children’s biological father and once discussed how he would kill a child, hypothetically.

Beyer was also convicted of helping in an attempted escape from the Outagamie County Jail while he was awaiting court hearings in the murder case. He pleaded no contest to Taking Hostages Released Without Bodily Harm and Attempted Escape- Criminal Arrest.

In the two hours after his jury went into deliberations, Matthew Beyer was found guilty and sentenced to two life terms without parole