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Dunn County homicide suspect’s attorney says complaint lacks proof, intent

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Dunn Co court
Ryan Steinhoff in court on December 3.
Chad Turgeson appears from the jail on December 3.
Travis Mayer
Sgt. Travis Mayer testifies on December 3.
Judge James Peterson
Dunn County suspects
L-R, Turgeson, Gunder, Steinhoff

DUNN COUNTY (WQOW) - Two men charged with killing another person in Dunn County were in court for the first time on Thursday.

Ryan Steinhoff, 37, Chad Turgeson, 37 and Ashley Gunder, 24 are all charged with 1st degree intentional homicide and as party to the crime.

Turgeson was first to appear from the Dunn County Jail on Thursday. His attorney Michael Covey was just assigned to him on Wednesday night so his preliminary hearing was pushed back to December 28 at 8:30 a.m. so they could meet and discuss the case.

Ryan Steinhoff was in the courtroom. Prosecutor Andrea Nodolf, the Dunn County DA, called Sergeant Travis Mayer with the Dunn County Sheriff's Office to the stand.

Mayer said authorities were called to a home in the town of Dunn on November 17. When they got there they found a man with lacerations to his head and said he was cold to the touch.

Mayer said the homeowner reported four people broke into his house and he was told not to go to the back bedroom because the suspects were "schooling" someone back there.

Gunder was arrested at the home when deputies arrived. Mayer reported Gunder said it was her job to "clean up" the crime scene.

Steinhoff and Turgeson were arrested at a motel later that day.

According to the suspects' criminal complaints, Bruce McGuigan, 37, of Hayward was allegedly beaten over the course of several hours before his death.

Mayer said authorities collected what were believed to be weapons used at the scene, including a hammer, knives and a wooden table leg.

In interviews with law enforcement, authorities determined that McGuigan was picked up in Hayward on November 15 and taken to Menomonie. All three suspects confirmed that he was alive when he was taken to the residence he would later die in.

Mayer said based on the autopsy, McGuigan was killed in the late-night hours of November 16 or the early-morning hours of November 17.

That autopsy, performed in Ramsey County, Minnesota, also ruled the death as a homicide.

According to the Dunn County Sheriff's Office, McGuigan was known by at least one of the suspects, and the incident was not random in nature.

In court on Thursday, Steinhoff's legal team argued there is no proof in the criminal complaint that Steinhoff caused the victim's death, despite prosecutors saying Steinhoff admitting to hitting the victim with wood. They also say no intent to kill the victim was mentioned.

Judge James Peterson said it seems very clear McGuigan died from a beating and he found probable cause to bind Steinhoff over for trial.

He will be back in court for an arraignment on Friday, December 11.

Clint Berge

Clint Berge is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager for Eau Claire’s Own WQOW News 18.
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