Warning: This story contains graphic description of violence.
A Wisconsin woman on Tuesday was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering and decapitating her lover in a meth-fueled rendezvous last year—despite a plea from her victim’s father for leniency.
“Everybody makes bad choices and I think there’s a lot of hope for you,” Michael Thyrion, the father of 24-year-old Shad Thyrion, said of Taylor Schabusiness during an extraordinary appearance in Brown County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
“I know you’ve got heart. I wish you no harm.”
Jurors who deliberated less than a hour in July convicted Taylor Schabusiness’ of the February 2022 murder of Shad Thyrion. In July. The jury also found that Schabusiness did not suffer from mental illness during the murder, meaning she will spend her sentence in prison and not a mental health facility.
Prosecutors asked the judge to impose life in prison without the possibility of parole because the crime was “egregious.” Defense attorneys wanted Schabusiness to be eligible for parole, arguing that she was not in her right mind during the murder.
Relatives speaking on her behalf included her father, who insisted that she is “not a monster” and that drugs turned her into a “zombie.”
“I know that she committed a crime, and they want her to pay for it,” her grandmother, Esther Coronado, told the court via video link. “But I believe she should have the opportunity to come back to society one time and be with her son.”
Schabusiness, who wore a white spit mask over her face, sat silently at the defense table. Asked if she had anything to tell the court, she said: “There isn’t.”
Throughout the trial, prosecutors alleged that Schabusiness fatally strangled Thyrion in the basement of his mother’s Green Bay home after the pair smoked methamphetamine and began to have sex.
Schabusiness admitted to police that after she dismembered and sexually abused Thyrion, she got “lazy” and put his severed head and male genitalia in a five-gallon bucket before leaving the house. Later, Thyrion’s mother, Tara Pakanich, testified during the trial that she found the bucket covered by a beach towel and called 911 when she looked inside.
“She found the severed head of her son in the basement,” Pakanich’s boyfriend, Steve Hendricks, told a 911 dispatcher in a call played during the trial. “There’s something in the goddamn bucket.”
Dr. Vincent Tranchida, from the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office, testified that Thyrion had cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana in his system, but that the drugs were not the cause of death.
“This body was essentially bloodless,” Tranchida said, adding that the injuries suggested someone tried to remove the blood from his flesh.
“The deceased was castrated as well…it is in my medical opinion that this would have taken a great deal of time,” the doctor added.
Prosecutors also detailed to jurors Schabusiness’s obsession with Jeffrey Dahmer, which included taking selfies with a photo of the serial killer. Former Green Bay Police lieutenant Jena Luberda testified that she found several Dahmer-related photos saved on Schabusiness’s phone, as well as about 24 online searches about the Milwaukee murderer infamous for killing and dismembering 17 men between 1978 and 1991.
“Things like Jeffrey Dahmer, Jeff Boyardee, Jeffrey Dahmer’s butt, Jeffrey Dahmer walking into court all sexy,” Luberda said about Schabusiness’s search history.