Steele’s parents take the stand in 4th day of murder trial

Steele ordered to stay in institution; says ‘I caused their death’
Andrew Steele

Andrew Steele’s parents took the stand, and the state presented witnesses on day four of the murder trial Friday.

Steele pleaded not guilty by mental disease or defect in the killings of his wife, Ashlee Steele, and sister-in-law, Kacee Tollefsbol, last August in Fitchburg.

Steele’s mother Phyllis Steele testified to his changes in eating and drinking behaviors after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“He was just eating everything, and that’s not really like him. He was just eating junk,” Phyllis Steele said. “He was also drinking more than usual.”

Phyllis Steele also spoke about her relationship with her son’s wife.

“When Andy was diagnosed with ALS, she called and she was devastated and she said, ‘You have to stay with us. You have to be part of our family. What will we do if you don’t? What will I do with the kids if you don’t?’ I said, ‘Ashlee, we love you. We’ll never, ever leave you,'” Phyllis Steele said.

The prosecution began its case yesterday, refuting Steele’s claim that insanity caused by his ALS led him to kill the sisters.

The state’s witnesses who testified Friday included a crime scene investigator, doctors testifying about behavioral changes associated with ALS and a PDQ employee who rang up charcoal and lighter fluid for Steele the day of the murders.

The state could rest its case by the middle of next week. The defense will get to present rebuttal witnesses before the case goes to the jury.