Mental Health

published : 2023-09-30

'Lady Dahmer,' who beheaded lover in meth-fueled tryst, 'deserves to be happy': lawyer

Taylor Schabusiness was convicted of killing Shad Thyrion in Wisconsin

A photo showing Taylor Schabusiness in her pre-meth addiction days, smiling and holding her baby, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Taylor Schabusiness, the Wisconsin mother convicted in the methamphetamine-fueled murder, decapitation and subsequent sexual desecration of boyfriend Shad Thyrion, should be given the possibility of parole and 'deserves to be happy,' her attorney told Fox News Digital.

Schabusiness, 25, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole in the February 2022 murder of Thyrion, 24. She was also sentenced to an additional 7½ years for mutilating a corpse and three years for third-degree sexual assault.

'I really feel that this young lady should be given a chance at the possibility — not the probability — of getting out on extended supervision or parole some day after decades of work — therapy, counseling,' said Christopher T. Froelich of the Green Bay-based Froelich Law Group. He intends to appeal the court's decision on Schabusiness's behalf.

Froelich took up the case in February; Schabusiness's previous lawyer, Quinn Jolly, resigned after the woman attacked him in court.

Some speculated the spit hood Schabusiness wore Tuesday was not to protect court attendees but to obscure Schabusiness's facial expressions. Froelich, however, explained that there were 'some issues at the jail' earlier that day.

The convicted murderer has smiled, smirked and appeared to fall asleep in court, behaviors psychologists called by the defense, including Dr. Diane Lytton, said are indicative of her mental incompetence to stand trial.

'She has been described as smirky — weird grinning — when she’s talking about the crimes,' Lytton explained on the stand. 'Based on my experience and training, that’s a psychotic person right there.'

Schabusiness burst into laughter when it was discussed whether jurors would be shown photos of her former lover's decapitated head found by Green Bay Police in a bucket.

She also laughed as a jury rejected her insanity plea and handed down her conviction July 27.

Christopher Froelich took over Taylor Schabusiness's case after she attacked her previous attorney, Quinn Jolly, pictured, and he resigned.

Froelich said Tuesday he has made 'several' attempts to get a mistrial in the case.

A courtroom sketch capturing Taylor Schabusiness's laughter as the discussion of showing photos of the decapitated head of her former lover arises, taken with a Nikon D850

'Should a judge be on a case if they witnessed a fight in the courtroom?' Froelich asked. 'I heard she tried to flash [the judge] in court. Would that be another reason to get somebody else, another judicial officer? I have no idea.'

The attorney also questioned at least one of Schabusiness's charges.

'How could there be a sexual assault? He's dead,' the attorney said Tuesday. 'Once he's dead, it's not sexual assault, it's mutilation of a corpse. Did the jury just go along with it because if she's guilty of one, she's probably guilty of all three? I don't know.'

Despite the Brown County Court judge's view Schabusiness's crimes 'offended human decency,' the victim's father told her he would 'forgive [her] for what [she] did to [his] son,' and that he knew '[she has] a heart, got a mind.'

Schabusiness has laughed, smirked and fallen asleep at points in her murder trial, and defense psychologists have argued this supports their assertion she is incompetent to stand trial.


'I believe everybody makes bad choices, maybe not to this scale,' Michael Thyrion said Tuesday. 'It does no good to hate you.'

Schabusiness's relatives traveled 10 hours multiple times to testify on her behalf and were 'dejected' after the sentencing, although they 'knew the stakes and what they were up against,' Froelich said.

Arthur Coronado, Schabusiness's father, took the stand Tuesday in an orange jumpsuit and shackles matching his daughter's. He was sentenced to 12 years in 2018 for sexually assaulting a child.

'It just shows that Taylor had family members … that really cared about her, had relationships with her,' Froelich said. 'She's not a throwaway, she's not a waste. … We should give her a chance. That's what I'm trying to do.'

Froelich described photos submitted into evidence of Schabusiness before her meth addiction took hold. Unlike dozens of gruesome autopsy and crime scene photos that left Froelich lastingly disturbed, he said, these 'show who she really is – not this monster person.'

An image of Christopher T. Froelich, the attorney representing Taylor Schabusiness, passionately arguing for his client's chance at parole, taken with a Sony A7III

'You can see … what kind of person she was as a little kid, a teenybopper, a young lady kissing her baby, holding her brother as a kid,' he told Fox News Digital.

'She asked, 'Can you flip this one, can you flip that one?' It was a happy day for her,' he said, describing how he maneuvered photos for a restrained Schabusiness at her presentencing hearing. 'I told her I was happy to see her smiling because [she] deserves to be happy.'

Also submitted into evidence was a pre-murder photo of Schabusiness smiling beside a photo of infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who carried out most of his 17 sexually-motivated killings and dismemberments two hours away in Milwaukee.

Froelich said he was a law school classmate of one of the lawyers who represented Dahmer.

'[Now], I have the lady Dahmer,' Froelich said.

Christina Coulter is a U.S. and World reporter for Fox News Digital. Email story tips to

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