An Onalaska man, who shot and killed three people at a local church in 1985, is being granted conditional release from the Mendota state hospital.
Bryan Stanley’s request for release was approved Monday at a brief court hearing in La Crosse, before Judge Ramona Gonzalez. Stanley will live under supervision in Eau Claire, Wis. He is ordered to stay away from La Crosse County.
“He had been at Mendota for quite a while,” La Crosse District Attorney Tim Gruenke said, “and reached a point where he was released from Mendota daily, able to go off campus by himself, had employment, had free time, and reached a point where there was nothing more to gain therapeutically by being at Mendota.”
Stanley is in his 60s now. He was 29 on Feb. 7, 1985, when he went to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Onalaska, and shot the Rev. John Rossiter, lay minister Ferd Roth and custodian Bill Hammes, after a church service.
Stanley reportedly had been upset because girls were being allowed to take the place of boys in certain church ceremonies.
He was found not guilty because of mental disease and was committed to Mendota, where he has mostly lived since the shootings, except for a brief period of release ordered by an appeals court in 2009.
Stanley was sent back to Mendota in 2012 after having violent thoughts.
“He’ll be on supervision for the rest of his life,” Gruenke added. “As long as he’s alive, he’s going to be monitored by the Department of Corrections, and any point they have concerns, they have the ability to take him back into custody.”