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Judge rules Schabusiness competent for trial, opening statements set for Monday

The jury selection is underway in Brown County Circuit Court
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Posted at 12:47 PM, Jul 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-21 19:56:53-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — A judge ruled Taylor Schabusiness is competent to stand trial, which is scheduled to begin on Monday.

Schabusiness, 25, is charged in connection with killing and dismembering a man inside a Green Bay home last year.

Schabusiness' charges include first-degree intentional homicide, third-degree sexual assault and mutilating a corpse.

"The greater weight of the credible evidence supports a finding that Ms. Schabusiness is competent to proceed to trial, and I'm going to make that finding now," Judge Thomas Walsh said in court on Friday.

A court-ordered psychologist who said Schabusiness was competent for trial at previous hearings stood ground in court Friday.

Licensed psychologist Matthew Seipel said he had a 90-minute interview with Schabusiness on July 12.

Seipel testified that Schabusiness has the capabilities to understand court proceedings and assist in her own defense.

"The opinion that I offer to a reasonable degree of professional certainty is that the defendant is presently competent to proceed," Seipel said.

Last week, a psychologist hired by the defense, Diane Lytton, testified saying Schabusiness is not competent for trial.

Lytton said Schabusiness threw a chair at her during an attempted interview in February.

In their interview last month, Lytton said Schabusiness showed signs of an active psychotic disorder.

"I am certainly well aware of the assaulted behavior towards the previous defense attorney within the courtroom," Seipel said. "I am aware of the defendant throwing a chair at Dr. Lytton."

Seipel said Schabusiness' behaviors are concerning, but doesn't think she has a several mental illness.

"I found no evidence to suggest that there was a consistent pattern of such behaviors that could be directly attributed to symptoms of a mental illness," Seipel said.

Seipel said he noted Schabusiness having moments of inappropriate laughter and grinning out of context, but said it did not alter their conversation.

Seipel testified for about an hour.

There was no rebuttal from Lytton.

A jury has been selected for Schabusiness' trial. There are 16 total jurors: nine women and seven men.