Updated: 08/29/2014 6:23 PM
Created: 08/29/2014 7:05 AM KSTP.com
By: Scott Theisen
Prosecutors have charged a former Wisconsin sheriff's deputy with killing his wife and sister-in-law last week.
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne filed two charges of first-degree intentional homicide against Andrew Steele on Friday. Steele would face mandatory life in prison if he's convicted. A court commissioner set bail at $1 million and ordered Steele to have no contact with his children or any members of his wife's family.
Steele's attorney said her client respects the criminal justice system and will work within it to see the case to its conclusion.
Detectives believe Steele killed his wife, 39-year-old Ashlee Steele, and his sister-in-law, 38-year-old Kacee Tollefsbol, of Lake Elmo, Minnesota, in the Steele's home in Fitchburg on Aug. 22. Fitchburg, a city of 40,000, is just outside Madison.
Tollefsbol named Andy Steele as the shooter during a 911 call, investigators say.
According to a criminal complaint filed Friday, Tollefsbol, 38, called police on Aug. 22 from the Steele home in Fitchburg, a Madison suburb. She said Steele had shot her and she was dying.
Police arrived and found Tollefsbol in the basement, shot in the back and covered with blood, the complaint said. She again said her brother-in-law had shot her. She died at a hospital about an hour after making her call for help.
A Dane County Sheriff's SWAT team discovered Ashlee Steele, 39, dead in the master bedroom. She had been shot in the head and had a zip-tie wrapped around her throat, cutting off circulation, the complaint said.
The SWAT team found Andrew Steele in a laundry room with a handgun. The dryer was running but was vented back into the room. A portable grill was also in the room and was very hot and loaded with charcoal. An officer secured the handgun but Andrew Steele fought with the team before they subdued him, the complaint said.
Investigators had said previously that Steele suffered injuries consistent with a suicide attempt but didn't offer details beyond saying he wasn't shot. Assistant District Attorney Paul Barnett told reporters outside court Friday that Steele was treated for smoke inhalation at a Milwaukee medical facility.
Steele resigned from the Dane County Sheriff's Department in June after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS attacks nerve cells and can lead to paralysis and death.
Steele's wife was spearheading a drive to raise $75,000 for his medical care; her Facebook page is full of videos of Steele's law enforcement colleagues taking ice bucket challenges on his behalf. They had raised about $23,000 when Ashlee Steele died.
Sisters Laid to Rest
Ashlee Steele and Kacee Tollefsbol were remembered during a service at St. Michael Catholic Church in Stillwater, Minnesota Friday afternoon.
The sisters’ six children are being cared for by a big yet extremely close family, and relatives say they are dealing with the deaths the best way they can.
Two funds have been set up to help raise and educate the children:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.