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UPDATE: Colten Treu sentenced to 54 years in prison

(WEAU)
Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 8:13 AM CDT
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In December Colten Treu was convicted in the deaths of four people.

Autumn Helgeson, Jayna Kelley, Haylee Hickle, and Sara Schneider.

A fifth person, Madalyn Zwiefelhofer, was severely hurt in the hit-and-run crash.

On Wednesday, Treu sat in a Chippewa County courtroom waiting to learn how much time he'll serve behind bars.

The day started with closing arguments by both the defense team and the prosecutors.

"It is a bad situation. Justice needs to be done sentence wise in regards to all those people in the picture here. Not because of emotion, because it's the right thing to do," said Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell.

"We're asking the court to remember that Colten Treu isn't the sum of just those bad mistakes on that one day," said Defense Attorney Carly Sebion.

Treu also directly addressed the court, and the families of his victims, for the first time.

"I screwed up bad," he says. "And no matter what I say or do, you guys are never going to know how sorry I really am."

While delivering the sentence, Judge James Isaacson sought to remind Treu of the gravity of his actions.

"Mr. Treu, it's hard to label what happened here. You know it's been called a tragedy, that doesn't seem to be enough. It's been called a horrendous tragedy, senseless, thoughtless. There's more adjectives, avoidable is one that comes to mind. Still it's not enough," said Judge Isaacson.

Treu was sentenced to 54 years in prison, followed by 45 years of extended supervision.

A total sentence of 99 years.

"I think justice was served. Obviously I would have preferred a more lengthy sentence regarding the recommendations that the state was making but it's ultimately up to the judge to determine what is appropriate and proper. But I think justice was served though and that he was held accountable for what he did on November 3, 2018," said Newell.

During the sentencing hearing, Treu's defense team also brought up the name John Stender repeatedly.

He was the passenger in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Newell says charges against Stender are expected to be filed before the end of the week.

He says those will include intentional abuse of a hazardous substance and aiding a felon.


Colten Treu has been sentenced to 54 years in prison and 45 years of extended supervision.

Treu is not to have any contact with the victim's families. He has also been credited 495 days.

The Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes said, "We are thankful for the sentence handed down today for the deaths and injuries of our beloved Girl Scouts. We remain fully in support of Troop 3055, their families, and our Girl Scout community and hope today’s sentencing provides some small measure of closure as the families continue to try and rebuild after immeasurable loss".


CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) --Day two of Colten Treu's sentencing has started.

The state has requested 20 years of initial confinement and five years of extended supervision for each of the victims killed. The state also requested 10 years of prison and three years of extended supervision in the charge of great bodily harm to Madalyn Zwiefelhofer. This totals 90 years in prison and 23 years of extended supervision.

They are also asking that Treu have no contact with the victim's families and is not to have any illegal drugs, inhalants or alcohol.

The defense has asked for 22 years in prison with 63 years of extended supervision, totaling 85 years. They also suggested they be served consecutively.

Chippewa District Attorney Wade Newell said charges against John Stender, the passenger, will be filed later this week.

Colten Treu addressed the court saying "No matter what I say or do, you guys are never going to know how sorry I really am". He added, "I can't give back what I have taken. I want to. Lord knows I want to".

On Tuesday, victim impact statements were read from more than 25 family and friends of the five victims.

In December, Treu changed his plea to no contest on four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and was found guilty. Treu also pleaded guilty to one count of hit and run causing bodily harm.

In early Nov. 2018, Treu was driving down County Road P in Lake Hallie after allegedly "huffing" chemical vapors when he crashed into Girl Scout Troop 3055, killing three girl scouts, a mother, and hurting a fifth person.

The victims of the hit-and-run include Haylee Hickle, 10, Sara Schneider ,32, Jayna Kelly ,9, and Autumn Helgeson ,10. Madalyn Zwiefelhofer was injured in the crash.

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