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Stanley seeking release again after years in hospital for triple murder at Onalaska church

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An Onalaska man, who killed three people at a local church in the 1980s, is asking to be released again from a state hospital. 

A court hearing for Bryan Stanley was scheduled for Thursday in La Crosse, but it is being postponed until early in the new year. 

On Feb. 7, 1985, Stanley fatally shot a priest and two other men at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Onalaska, after reportedly objecting to church practices.

He was found not guilty because of mental disease, and was committed to Mendota for much of the time since then, having been released for a short time about a decade ago. 

A previous release lasted several months, but Stanley was sent back to Mendota in 2012 after having violent thoughts. 

According to court records, the district attorney is not objecting to Stanley’s latest request for conditional release.

Stanley was 29 when the shootings occurred. The victims were Rev. John Rossiter, lay minister Ferdinand Roth, Sr. and custodian William Hammes.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Rabbi Brian Serle

    November 11, 2022 at 6:30 am

    Where does Heart of La Crosse perform?

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