A Waukesha County Circuit Court judge committed Richard Wilson, 17, of Fox Point, to life in a state mental health facility this morning. Wilson was charged with killing his grandfather, Ronald Siepmann, 78, of the Town of Merton, on May 8.
Wilson pleaded guilty to first degree intentional homicide, but Judge William Domina found him not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. The teenager originally entered an insanity plea in September, but changed his plea to guilty at the Thursday morning hearing.
Domina made the determination based on a report from Dr. Deborah Collins, a psychiatrist and the head of the state’s forensics unit. Her report indicated that at the time of the murder, Wilson was not able to discern right from wrong, nor could he “appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct”.
Thus, Wilson pleaded guilty to committing the murder, but the judge found him not mentally responsible for his actions at the time. The Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services will now place Wilson in a state mental health facility for life, but according to Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel, Wilson could eventually petition for his release.
According to the criminal complaint, the teenager’s mother said her son suffers from schizophrenia. Dr. Collins’s report indicated that Wilson began suffering from psychotic disorders in the fall of 2010.
Schimel said that Wilson was delusional and that he suffered from a “clear disconnect with reality,” at the time of the murder, but a court-appointed psychiatrist concluded that he was competent to stand trial.
“Competency is here and now,” Schimel explained after the hearing. “How is the person right at this moment? The insanity part always goes back to the moment when they’re committing the offense.”
The criminal complaint said that Wilson used an ax to bludgeon Siepmann to death as the family gathered at his Town of Merton home for a Mother’s Day celebration. Siepmann was the founder of Siepmann Realty.
“In the hours before the attack there were family members that were very concerned that Richard’s behaviors had got very bizarre, and they were frightened,” said Schimel. “They were doing their best to monitor him.”
“They’re a close family that enjoyed celebrating a lot of things together,” Schimel said of the Siepmann family. “That’s why they were all there for Mother’s Day. The suffering was just palpable.”
“It’s a terrible pain that I can’t imagine going through as a family. They’re trying to heal.”