BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. — A Wisconsin man who fatally shot his father and then burned and buried the body has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
A judge on Thursday ordered 23-year-old Lars Helgeson to be sent to a mental health facility, The Leader-Telegram (http://bit.ly/2sxlDxJ ) reported.
The Hixton man had pleaded guilty to first-degree intentional homicide in the 2013 death of his father, Brian Helgeson. But after Monroe County Judge Mark Goodman heard comments from a psychiatrist and attorneys, he ruled Helgeson lacked the capacity to understand the wrongfulness of his actions.
Jackson County District Attorney Gerald Fox said Helgeson had delusions that his father was persecuting and abusing him, though there was no evidence of abuse. A forensic psychiatrist testified that Helgeson showed symptoms of schizophrenia.
The crime may have been prevented if a doctor had identified those symptoms and given Helgeson the proper medication, Fox said.
“If there is any good that is ever going to come out of this horrific crime, it’s that we increase awareness that there is mental health treatment available,” Fox said. “People right around you could be suffering, and you have to see the signs and have to have the courage to take action.
Helgeson will be treated at Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison. He had previously spent time at Mendota, but hasn’t received treatment while at Jackson County Jail, defense attorney Carly Sebion said.
Information from: Leader-Telegram, http://www.leadertelegram.com/