Lars Helgeson granted early conditional release

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 3:44 PM CST
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JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - A Jackson County man committed to a mental health facility for life after killing his father back in 2013 is granted early release.

Lars Helgeson admitted to killing his father Brian Helgeson at the family farm in Hixton back in 2013.

In 2017 Lars was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, and was committed for life at the Mendota Mental Health Institute.

In July of 2022 he petitioned the court for early conditional release, and on Wednesday, Jackson County Judge Mark Goodman ruled Hegleson is no longer a danger.

He called the crime “brutal” and “cold blooded” when making his ruling, but said the decision was based on testimony from several people, including a doctor who said last month that Lars mental health is much better.

“I am going to order that a conditional release plan be prepared for him. The plan will be provided to us within 60 days,” said Judge Goodman, who added that the state had failed to meet the burden of proof that Lars is a continued danger to himself and others.

Lars’ brother Bjorn, who is also a son of the victim, testified against his release Wednesday. He said he is concerned for his own safety as we for Lars’ safety.

“I don’t agree with the judge’s ruling. I think it’s way too early for him to be released. I truly felt that that was the best place for him, for his well-being and others,” said Bjorn.

Lar’s defense attorney argues his time at Mendota has reshaped him.

“This is Mr. Helgeson’s first request to the court for consideration for early conditional release. I think that’s significant considering he’s been at Mendota for over 5 years... his peers respect him and they’ll speak up to that,” said Carly June Sebion in court.

Bjorn said he will be filing a restraining order against Lars when he is released.

“I guess I don’t know where he’s going to go, I guess we’ll find out,” and Bjorn believes Lars is prone to kill again. “He didn’t just murder his father, he murdered another human being. I don’t want that to ever happen to anybody else, because no one should ever go through that.”

The court said the plan to be submitted has to account for things like living arrangements, continued monitoring and a plan for mental health care.

If a plan cannot be made withing the 60 days given by the court, more time can be requested.

Some of the Helgeson family is in disbelief Lars Helgeson is granted early release from Mendota Mental Health Institute. The judge says Helgeson’s release is pending what he calls the submission of a sufficient plan.

Family Members were present as the court heard from the state and defense on whether or not Lars Helgeson continues to be a danger.

The judge determined the state didn’t meet the burden of proof granting Lars Helgeson’s petition. This based on the reports from his time at Mendota Mental Health Institute. The judge even calling the crime taken into consideration as brutal and cold blooded.

Lars Helgeson’s brother Bjorn says he was not expecting Wednesday to go the way it did.

The judge is giving the state health department sixty days to submit the plan for Helgeson. That includes livings arrangements, employment, and a continued mental health care plan.