Release From Mental Institution For Eau Claire Man Denied

An Eau Claire man sent to a mental institution after shooting his wife and daughter to death and wounding the daughter's boyfriend in 1998 has been denied a petition for release for a fifth time.

But this time, Eau Claire County Circuirt Court Judge Benjamin Proctor left open a chance for Cher Cha Moua to be freed ... if lawyers show he can't get the further help he needs at Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison.

The judge says he's not sure Moua isn't being set up to fail. He gave Eau Claire defense lawyer Harry Hertel and prosecutors one week to determine whether Moua can obtain help at Mendota with parenting, employment and other life skills.

If not, the judge says he will grant the 48-year-old Moua a conditional release, so he can get help through a release plan while living outside a mental institution.

At the time of the shootings, Moua's lawyer said he was hallucinating, sleep deprived and extremely depressed, and he believed he was protecting his family.