Jaren Kuester pleads not guilty to three counts of homicide

WAUKESHA COUNTY (WITI) -- 31-year-old Jaren Kuester -- the man accused in a Lafayette County triple homicide pleaded not guilty to three counts of first degree intentional homicide on Monday, June 3rd.

Kuester refused to speak while in court -- leading a judge to enter not guilty pleas on his behalf.

Kuester has been charged in the death of 70-year-old Gary Thoreson, his wife, 66-year-old Chloe Thoreson and his brother, 76-year-old Dean Thoreson. The three were found dead inside a home in rural South Wayne, Wisconsin.

Detective Joseph Thompson took the witness stand in the case last month.

Thompson testified that he first made contact with Kuester the night of April 26th. Police found Kuester at a Waukesha apartment complex where his father lives. Outside, they found a vehicle registered to one of the victims.

During an interview the day after the bodies of Dean, Gary and Chloe Thoreson were discovered, police say Kuester confessed to the crime.

"He indicated that he struck the individuals with a poker and that he used a knife on the female individual as well as a poker," Thompson said in court Monday.

Police say Kuester, who has a history of mental illness, had just been bailed out of jail in Waukesha. He was driving west the night before the slayings, and told investigators he pulled over in neighboring Green County because he thought people were following him. He then took off his clothes and started running.

"He indicated it was rough terrain and he had to swim a river on two occasions," Thompson said.

The lone testimony was enough to convince the judge there was probable cause Kuester committed the crimes, and it was determined Kuester will stand trial in the case.

Kuester is being held on $3 million bond.