Taylor Schabusiness found guilty on all counts
Earlier, jury heard Taylor Schabusiness describe killing in police interview
Action 2 News is streaming gavel-to-gavel coverage of Taylor Schabusiness’s trial online at wbay.com/breaking. NOTE: The video feed will switch away when there’s a risk of showing jurors and during breaks. WARNING: Testimony and evidence may be graphic and disturbing and include graphic language.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Jurors have returned a verdict of guilty on all counts for Taylor Schabusiness in the murder and dismemberment of Shad Thyrion. Jurors deliberated for a little more than 30 minutes.
The prosecution rested Wednesday, and Schabusiness reserved her right to remain silent and chose not to testify in her own defense. However, jurors did hear Schabusiness in her own words in a recorded police interview, describing in detail how she killed Shad Thyrion just hours after doing meth together and how she dismembered the body.
Earlier that day in court, the father of Shad Thyrion testified about the last time he saw his son and his son’s relationship with Taylor Schabusiness on the fourth day of Schabusiness’s homicide trial Wednesday.
He said Shad briefly came to his home with Schabusiness and a third person he knew as A.J. He said his son knew Schabusiness since middle school.
Schabusiness is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse, and third-degree sexual assault in the death of Shad Thyrion at a house on Stony Brook Lane in February 2022.
After Thyrion’s father’s brief testimony, the jury heard testimony from Green Bay police detectives.
Detective Kevin Kempf testified about interviewing Schabusiness and photos he took of her injuries. He said Schabusiness was taken to a hospital for cuts on her hand but she didn’t receive stitches because the cuts were over 12 hours old -- he said he was told after 12 hours, stitches aren’t effective.
The other detective, David Graf, interviewed Thyrion’s mother at the police department. He said he gathered basic information about who was at the house and when, and after he finished he was told Schabusiness was at the police station. He said that interview lasted 6 hours, including a number of breaks. He testified she provided information about Thyrion’s body and where parts could be found. According to Graf, Schabusiness said she put a dog collar around Thyrion’s neck and strangled him with it for several minutes, he began turning purple, and “she continued to want to see what happened... Even though she was struggling, she still managed to maintain control.”
“Her response was that she liked it,” Graf said.
Graf said Schabusiness described in detail how she dismembered Thyrion using knives from the kitchen. She said police could find the rest of his body and the knives in bags in the basement, which was consistent with what officers found at the Stony Brook Ln. house.
In earlier testimony, a medical examiner and staff had remarked on the lack of blood they would expect to find at such a scene. Graf said Schabusiness told him she used a bucket and a tote bag to contain the blood and a shower in the basement to dispose of it.
Asked about her demeanor, Graf said he was able to ask questions and she asked questions. He said her ability to understand the questions was “very good” and he didn’t see anything to suggest she was under the influence of drugs.
Graf said he also looked at the history of Schabusiness’s phone’s wireless internet connections, which provided a timeline and locations where the phone had been. On February 22, 2022, starting at 12 a.m., Schabusiness’s phone was using Wi-Fi at an Eastman Street apartment. At about 6 a.m. until 10 a.m., it was using the Wi-Fi at Thyrion’s mother’s house on Stony Brook Ln.
Graf also found photos of Shad Thyrion taken while he was alive, dated February 22. The bedroom at the Eastman St. apartment is in the background, Graf testified.
The victim’s mother said she found her son’s head in a bucket early in the morning on February 23 after she was awakened by a door slamming.
After Graf’s testimony, video of police interrogating Schabusiness was played in court. The video shows Schabusiness calmly answering police questions about what happened.
Later in the day, Schabusiness’s lawyer told the judge that she’s exercising her right not to testify.
Both the state and defense rested their cases Wednesday and the judge delivered deliberation instructions to the jury. After jury instructions, the state and defense delivered closing statements.
DEFENSE MOTIONS FOR MISTRIAL
For two days, Judge Thomas Walsh denied defense motions for a mistrial.
After the jury was dismissed Tuesday, Judge Walsh heard arguments to exclude evidence of Schabusiness’s internet searches on Milwaukee serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who dismembered his victims, and about satanism. The defense questioned the relevance of the evidence and said it would prejudice the jury against Schabusiness.
Before bringing the jury in Wednesday morning, Judge Walsh brought two experts to the witness stand to ask follow-up questions about evidence from Schabusiness’s phone, including internet searches and photos -- specifically, searches about Dahmer, including “Jeffrey Dahmer walking into court all sexy” and “Jeffrey Dahmer’s butt,” and photos of him.
The judge wanted to clarify how photos that were on the phone could be accessed by issuing a search warrant to Google. A police expert testified Google syncs photographs between the Gallery app on a smartphone and its servers, or “the cloud.” The court also clarified the dates some of the photos were accessed.
Walsh decided to allow the Dahmer evidence, saying what he’s received is relevant and probative. He ruled he doesn’t want any further references made to the searches of a satanic nature and any evidence the jury sees will need references to satanism redacted.
The defense made another motion for a mistrial Wednesday after a juror told a bailiff they received a text from a friend out-of-state saying they were on TV and looked “dapper.” Jurors can’t be shown as a requirement of the media covering the trial and to allow livestreaming. A review of the video showed there was “no occasion the jury had been shown” on the livestream or anywhere else, Judge Walsh said.
The judge reminded jurors of the rules and to avoid any discussion of the trial, and to report any further incidents.
Court employees will look at security videos to see if anyone in the gallery recorded the jurors.
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