Janesville65.1°

Staskals hope for best, fear the worst

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Mike DuPre'
May 14, 2008
— Redgie Staskal hopes his son, Mark, will give him a grandchild some day.

“I’d like to see him get a job, a sheltered job probably. I’d like to see him get married and have children.


“I’m like any other parent. Those are my wishes, but wishes are not what you can live with,” said Redgie, a Milton resident.


Mark is the only hope for grandchildren for Redgie and his wife, Melly, because Mark killed his only sibling—younger sister Marcy—24 years ago. Found not guilty by reason of mental disease, Mark, 44, has lived primarily in Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison since his trial.


On Tuesday, Rock County Judge Michael Byron approved a conditional-release plan under which Mark will live at Brighter Life Living, an adult group home at 924 E. Mifflin St., Madison.


Jason Standish, the group home owner, told the court his only training in dealing with mentally ill people is through his operation of group homes for 12 years.


“This guy has no idea what he’s getting into,” Melly said after the hearing. “What does he know about flat effect (emotionless demeanor)? What does he know about paranoid schizophrenia?”


Melly fears “that an innocent person in the community or Mark will end up dead.”


Both parents stressed that they are not upset with their son. It’s his mental illness that worries them, they said.


Mark killed Marcy because he was frustrated his life was not working out as well as his teenage peers, Melly said, and he will realize sooner or later that his adult life has not been successful or fulfilling.


Though Mark has complied with Mendota’s rules and has not acted out, Melly fears Mark’s frustration eventually will trigger violence.


“I hope he does make it,” Redgie said. “Who am I to play to play God with his life? But at the same time, I think that people around him have the right to know who is standing next to them.”


Melly will not visit Mark in his new home because, she said, she fears for her safety.


“I am concerned about my safety as I am about people who aren’t aware of the danger,” she said. “Mark’s a nice-looking guy; Mark’s a nice guy to talk to … but that can change without warning.”


Redgie said he won’t visit Mark for at least 30 days because he doesn’t want to upset his adjustment to a new environment.


“I really hope he makes it,” Redgie said. “He’s been there a long time.”



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