Wittenberg hostage-taker ruled insane - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wittenberg hostage-taker ruled insane


SHAWANO (WAOW) - Prosecutors have agreed that a gunman who held a fast food worker hostage in Wittenberg was insane at the time.

As part of a plea deal that dismissed two misdemeanors, a judge found Travis Keiler, 29, of Gillett, guilty of two felonies - taking hostages and failing to comply with officers - but not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, meaning he cannot be punished with prison time, according to online Shawano County court records.

Keiler was charged following a two-hour standoff at a McDonald's/Shell convenience store April 22. No one was hurt.

Prosecutors say Keiler, armed with a .38-caliber pistol, kept the fast food worker hostage for about an hour before letting him go after police promised to take him to a mental health center and not jail.

During negotiations to get Keiler to surrender, Keiler told a detective that he had quit his job in DePere and had been "driving all over the area" before ending up in Wittenberg with a stolen pistol, the complaint said.

Keiler was ruled competent to stand trial but he was evaluated by doctors and prosecutors agreed, in the plea deal, that Keiler was incapable of understanding right from wrong during the hostage-taking and was suffering from a mental disease or defect, court records said.

Keiler is to be sentenced Aug. 26.

Circuit Judge William Kussel could send him to a mental institution until doctors determined he is safe to be released back into society or he could be allowed to remain in the community and be treated as an outpatient, District Attorney Greg Parker said.

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