Janesville59.2°

Hearing set on Staskal move

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Mike DuPre'
April 30, 2008
— A state official told the parents of Mark Staskal that a place for him to live outside a mental institution has been found.

Mark’s mother, Melly Staskal, said this morning she was told by Glenn Larson, an official with the state Department of Health and Family Services, that another group home has agreed to accept her son.


A hearing before Judge Michael Byron on where Mark Staskal will live is scheduled for May 13.


Staskal stabbed his younger sister, Marcy, to death in their Milton home in 1984.


Except for a brief stay at an Eau Claire group home late last year, Staskal, 44, has lived at Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison since he was found not guilty by reason of mental disease of his sister’s murder.


Melly Staskal said she was told that her son’s next group home would be more secure than the one in Eau Claire. Larson also told her, she said, that he could not reveal the new home’s location.


Rumors that originated in Eau Claire say the new group home is in Madison.


Contacted this morning at Mendota, Staskal declined to comment on his situation.


Ray Jablonski, the Rock County assistant district attorney handling the case, said this morning that the state has not contacted him or the district attorney’s victim witness office about any change in Staskal’s case.


In January 2007, Byron ordered that Staskal be released from Mendota to a suitable setting under a conditional release plan. The Department of Health and Family Services contracted with Lutheran Social Services to develop a plan and find such a living arrangement.


It took the agency months to find a group home willing to accept Staskal, but he lived in Eau Claire for only a matter of days.


He started having violent daydreams that his conditional release team thought were triggered by stress. The daydreams could indicate that Staskal's mental state was deteriorating and required daily monitoring by a psychiatric professional, several people testified at a court hearing in December.


The December hearing was on the state’s request that Byron revoke his conditional release order because daily psychiatric contact was not available to Staskal because he was not a voluntary resident of Eau Claire County.


Byron stuck to his original decision.


He refused to revoke Staskal's conditional release because, he said, the state had not proved any of the conditions necessary to rescind the decision: that Staskal had broken rules or that he presented a danger to himself or others.


But Byron also decided not to order that Staskal be returned to the Eau Claire group home where he had been living. The judge told Larson to develop a new conditional release plan and set a hearing to review it in February.


In February, Lutheran Social Services was granted a 60-day extension on developing a new plan. At the end of the extension, the May hearing was scheduled.



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