Wittenberg fast food hostage-taker sentenced - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wittenberg fast food hostage-taker sentenced

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SHAWANO (WAOW) - A 29-year-old man found insane in holding a fast food worker hostage at gunpoint in Wittenberg was ordered to a mental hospital for 26 1/2 years, a court official said Tuesday.

As part of a plea deal, Travis Keiler, 29, of Gillett, was found guilty of two felonies - taking hostages and failing to comply with officers - but not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, meaning he could not be sent to prison.

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

Under Shawano County Circuit Judge William Kussel's sentence, Keiler will remain in a mental institution until doctors determine he is safe to be released back into society.

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, court records said.

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