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Rural Colfax man admits to killing father with piece of lumber

Rural Colfax man admits to killing father with piece of lumber

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Gary Styer intial appearance in Dunn County court

Public Defender Laurie Osberg represented Gary Styer of Colfax in Dunn County Court via video conference on Jan. 21. Styer is charged with first-degree intentional homicide for the death of his father, Edward Styer.

A two-by-four was used by a Colfax man in the killing of his father, according to the Dunn County criminal complaint.

Gary E. Styer, 51, of rural Colfax told investigators he used a piece of lumber to strike his father in the head and torso while he slept in the early morning hours of Jan. 15, the complaint stated.

Dunn County deputies responded to a call for a welfare check of Edward Styer, 78, where he was found deceased. Deputies initially suspected his death to be from a gunshot wound. Authorities found a wooden board approximately four feet in length covered in blood in the room.

The autopsy report state there were deep lacerations to the head and face of the deceased. There were also bruising and lacerations to the hands, arms, torso and legs. The autopsy indicated multiple blunt force injuries including contusions, and lacerations to the skin and scalp and multiple facial bone and skull fractures and hemorrhages.

Styer has been charged with one count of first-degree intentional homicide. He made an initial appearance in Dunn County Circuit Court by video conference call Tuesday afternoon.

Attorney Laurie Osberg, representing Styer through the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office, said they have yet to appoint counsel in Styer’s defense.

Osberg said they need more time to make a decision whether a second autopsy is needed and whether a second defense investigator is needed to study the scene. They just received the criminal complaint and counsel hasn’t been assigned, Osberg said, so they have yet to begin discovery.

Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf said the deadline for a second autopsy was Tuesday. The body of the victim should be released to allow the family to hold funeral services, Nodolf said.

Osberg asked Judge James M. Peterson to not make a decision on the release of the body until a later date. Styer is entitled to due process, and the public defender’s office is moving as quickly as it can but counsel must be assigned before it can continue with its investigation, Osberg said.

The state completed the process of investigation of the scene Friday and it has been released back to the family, Nodolf said.

Judge Peterson said the dignity of the family outweighs bureaucratic delays, but there are many issues related to concerns of the deceased’s body. Peterson said that although he understands the desires to have the body present at a memorial service, he ordered that the body not yet be released to the family.

Continuation of Styer’s initial appearance is slated for Friday afternoon.

Styer said, according to the complaint, that he struck his father because of years of emotional and physical abuse he suffered as a child. Styer said his father’s comments about Styer’s unemployment also played a factor.

Styer had gone to Eau Claire later in the day on Jan. 15 and told someone his father may or may not be alive, the complaint said, leading to the call for a welfare check.

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