Staskal likely headed to Madison home

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Mike DuPre'
Saturday, May 10, 2008
— All indications point to Mark Staskal being placed in an adult foster home in Madison.

Rock County Judge Michael Byron will decide Tuesday morning whether to approve the latest conditional-release plan for Staskal.

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.

Byron’s decision in January 2007 to conditionally release Staskal, the many group homes that rejected him and his eventual—but unsuccessful—move to Eau Claire created a storm of controversy and criticism.

And that’s probably why the conditional-release plan developed by the Mental Health Center of Dane County—and now part of Staskal’s case file—does not list the community that is proposed for his placement, the address of the home or the name of the agency overseeing what is simply called “an adult family home.”

But all the agencies listed as helping to develop the plan are in Dane County and are Madison-based.

Staskal’s attorney, Phil Brehm of Janesville, would not divulge the location.

Ray Jablonski, the Rock County assistant district attorney handling the case, was not in his office Friday afternoon because he was in Madison to check out the proposed home, a staffer in the DA’s office said.

Staskal’s parents—Redgie and Melly Staskal of Milton—oppose his release.

They fear he could become violent and kill again.

The latest released plan says that the staff-to-resident ratio at the new home will be one staffer for every three residents, 24 hours a day. It does not list the number of staff or residents.

Told of the ratio, Melly Staskal said: “That tells me, when it’s that small of a facility, that it doesn’t have the staff or security system to protect the community or Mark.

“The staff wouldn’t have the education or experience to be on top of the situation because he has this complex mental disease. … It sounds like a plan that would work quite well for someone who doesn’t have a violent background,” she said.

Staskal’s parents think the best place for him is Mendota because it provides a safe, secure and structured environment.

Staskal lived in Eau Claire for only a matter of days because the state Department of Health and Family Services returned him to Mendota and asked Byron to rescind his conditional-release order.

While in Eau Claire, Staskal 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 psychiatric monitoring, several people testified at a December hearing on the state’s request for Byron to revoke his conditional-release order.

Because he was not a voluntary resident of Eau Claire County, such daily psychiatric contact was not available to Staskal.

Byron stuck to his original decision.

Last updated: 9:11 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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