Judge grants another competency exam for woman accused of murder, dismemberment

The accused killer's lawyer questions whether she's able to assist in her defense
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 3:08 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2022 at 4:39 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Brown County judge has granted another competency exam for a Green Bay woman accused of murdering a man and then dismembering him.

Taylor Schabusiness, 24, appeared in Brown County Court Tuesday. It was a short hearing, only about 20 minutes, but it offered a clearer picture why Schabusiness’s defense attorney is concerned about her ability to assist in her own defense.

Attorney Quinn Jolly requested another report, saying he has seen a dramatic decline in his client’s ability to assist and understand the case against her. He says Schabusiness’s brother died in July and she has been on suicide watch for two months, which has made it difficult for him, or anyone, to see his client.

State attorney Caleb Saunders didn’t take a position on the defense’s competency request.

Brown County Judge Thomas Walsh said the psychologist who’s in charge of submitting a report based on Schabusiness’s insanity plea -- not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect -- had to reschedule Schabusiness for a mental health evaluation.

“This letter indicates evaluator needs more time, requesting an extension of return of report no later than November 11, apologizing for the delay,” Judge Thomas said.

The judge expects to have that report and results of the additional competency exam by Schabusiness’s next court date on November 18.

The court ruled Schabusiness competent to face trial back in May after listening to 4 hours of testimony from prosecution and defense experts. It was one of those experts that Judge Walsh quoted in reaching his decision.

“In reviewing the report,” Judge Walsh said, “I note, the end of the report, on page 7 of the court-appointed evaluator, it indicates from a broader clinical perspective I would encourage court officers to remain sensitive in the event of any signs of significant fluctuations in Schabusiness’s overall mental status or behavioral stability. Such changes may signal fluctuation in competency and warrant a re-examination.”

So he granted the competency exam. But Judge Walsh made it very clear on the record Tuesday that they can’t keep revisiting this issue, saying at some point decisions need to be made and the case needs to move forward.

Schabusiness is charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, Mutilating a Corpse, and 3rd Degree Sexual Assault in the death of Shad Thyrion in February. According to prosecutors, Schabusiness and Thyrion were having sex at his mother’s home on Stony Brook Lane when she strangled him and dismembered his body. Shad’s mother found her son’s severed head in a bucket, and other body parts were found in the home and in Shabusiness’s van.

In the criminal complaint, Schabusiness is quoted telling police she blacked out during part of the sex and just went “crazy” and started strangling Thyrion. She said she didn’t mean to kill him but enjoyed choking him and continued doing it. The sexual assault charge is for acts that happened after the victim was dead. She then found knives in the kitchen to put his body parts in bags.

Jolly says Schabusiness was treated for mental health issues since she was in 7th grade, including a number of hospital stays, and she’s been diagnosed as bipolar and psychotic.

Schabusiness remains jailed in lieu of a $2 million cash bond.

Taylor Schabusiness's attorney says her ability to understand court proceedings and help in her defense has worsened