MENOMONIE — A Menomonie woman has pleaded not guilty in connection with the beating death of a Hayward man at a rural Dunn County residence.
Ashley A. Gunder, 25, entered the plea Monday in Dunn County Court on felony charges of first-degree intentional homicide and bail jumping. Gunder returns to court Aug. 20.
Co-defendants Ryan L. Steinhoff, 38, of Birnamwood, and Chad D. Turgeson, 38, of Eau Claire, have previously pleaded not guilty to first-degree intentional homicide. Steinhoff is also seeking an insanity defense.
Steinhoff and Turgeson return to court Aug. 16 and Sept. 7, respectively.
The victim in the incident was identified as Bruce E. McGuigan, 37.
Gunder, Steinhoff and Turgeson remain in custody on $500,000 cash bails.
According to the criminal complaint:
Dunn County sheriff’s deputies were called at 3 p.m. Nov. 17 to a residence on 440th Street in the town of Dunn on a report of a man who was badly injured there.
When deputies arrived at the residence, Gunder exited the home along with a dog. Gunder said there was a man inside the residence who was believed to be deceased.
Authorities entered the residence and found McGuigan’s body lying on the floor of a bedroom with visible lacerations on his head. A large amount of blood was on his face and the floor. There was also blood on a white mattress that was propped up vertically against a wall.
The owner of the residence said his home had been broken into while he was away. He returned to find the three defendants and the victim inside the residence. The owner was told that McGuigan was taught a lesson after being “schooled.”
Gunder remained at the residence while Turgeson and Steinhoff left. Gunder told authorities Turgeson killed McGuigan while she was supposed to clean up the mess.
Gunder said she was unaware that McGuigan was going to be killed. But because of how “it all went down,” Gunder believed it was the intention of Turgeson and Steinhoff to kill McGuigan from the start.
Gunder said she and Steinhoff picked McGuigan up in Hayward and brought him to the Dunn County residence. Gunder said McGuigan was beaten for about 90 minutes. She could hear a body being hit and McGuigan saying that “he didn’t do it.”
As far as she knew, Gunder said, McGuigan was being accused of kidnapping a woman.
Turgeson told authorities McGuigan was beaten by Steinhoff and denied ever kicking or striking the victim during the incident. Steinhoff admitted to striking McGuigan with his fists and a wooden bed post, and kicking him.
Authorities recovered multiple items at the residence that were believed to have been used during the incident including a hammer, knives and a wooden table leg.
An autopsy performed Nov. 18 at the Ramsey County (Minn.) Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul showed McGuigan’s death was caused by multiple blunt force injuries to the head and torso and stab wounds.
The autopsy showed McGuigan was stabbed in the right shoulder and right leg. McGuigan had several rib and facial fractures and a deep laceration to the back of his head. He also had a brain hemorrhage.