Trial Begins For Woman Who Decapitated Lover And Left His Head In A Bucket

Trial Begins For Woman Who Decapitated Lover And Left His Head In A Bucket Brown County Jail

More than a year after Taylor Schabusiness decapitated and dismembered Shad Thyrion before leaving his head in a bucket in his mother’s basement, her trial has finally begun. Proceedings started in Wisconsin on Monday, July 24, with Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh presiding.

Here’s what you need to know.

  1. While Schabusiness initially pleaded not guilty despite giving police a detailed confession of what she did to her victim, she later changed her plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. A psychologist declared her competent to stand trial, so it’s now up to a jury to decide how she should be found.
  2. The murder was one of the most shocking and disturbing in the state’s history. Schabusiness and Thyrion were longtime friends who often had sex, using chains and strangulation during their encounters. However, on the night in question, the pair had been smoking methamphetamine all day before starting to have sex. At one point, Schabusiness began choking him and wouldn’t stop, later admitting that she knew Thyrion could not breathe but that she liked watching him die.
  3. After she killed him, Schabusiness said she played with and sexually abused her victim’s body for several hours before decapitating and dismembering him, taking some body parts with her while leaving others in a bucket in his mother’s basement. She then left the house and drove home. Shad Thyrion’s mother discovered her son’s body parts several hours later and alerted police.
  4. Schabusiness has never expressed remorse for what she did. Instead, when police took her into custody, she taunted them, telling them to “have fun trying to find the rest” of Thyrion’s body parts. Many of them were found in various duffel bags around the basement where the murder occurred. Others were found in a crock pot box and in the vehicle Schabusiness was driving, which did not belong to her.
  5. It’s been a rocky lead-up to the Taylor Schabusiness trial, and it almost seemed like we wouldn’t ever get here. Back in February 2023, she lashed out at her lawyer in court, leading to the attorney’s resignation. However, she now has new representation, and the proceedings are in full force.
  6. You can watch the Taylor Schabusiness trial on YouTube via Law & Crime‘s channel or Court TV‘s. Streaming starts daily at 9:30 a.m. EST/8:30 a.m. CT. The trial is expected to last around a week, and a jury will decide after hearing closing arguments whether or not Taylor Schabusiness is guilty of murder or not guilty by reason of insanity.
  7. So, what happens if Schabusiness is found not guilty by reason of insanity? In the state of Wisconsin, the person typically becomes subject to commitment in a mental health facility. How long they end up staying there largely depends on the specifics of the case, including how serious the crime they committed was (and I think can all agree this one was incredibly serious!), as well as the person’s mental health condition and treatment progress.
  8. Taylor Schabusiness could still spend the rest of her life (or much of it) in custody. Again, Wisconsin law says a person can be committed to a mental health institution for a period equivalent to the maximum sentence they would have served in prison for the crime they committed. So, if she was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, she could be held indefinitely in a mental health facility if NGRI. It all depends on how well she responds to any treatment and whether or not professionals believe it would be safe to release her back into the general public.
  9. It seems pretty clear that Schabusiness is seriously mentally unstable. Throughout the trial so far, she has laughed at inappropriate moments and often looked bored or annoyed by testimony given by witnesses on the stand. In one instance, she seemed to think it was hilarious that the judge was asked whether jury members should be able to see photos of Shad Thyrion’s head in a bucket.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill