Taylor Schabusiness has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the gruesome meth-fueled murder and mutilation of her lover last year.
Schabusiness, a 25-year-old married mother-of-one, was sentenced on Tuesday at the Brown County Courthouse in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It comes two months after she was convicted on three felony counts of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and third-degree sexual assault in the September 2022 death of 24-year-old Shad Thyrion.
Schabusiness strangled Thyrion to death during sex after the two of them used methamphetamines — and later bragged to police that she had enjoyed the ordeal. She placed Thyrion’s mutilated head in a bucket for his mother to find and law enforcement later discovered the victim’s dismembered torso, penis and carved-out organs in the basement.
The convicted murderer was brought into the courtroom wearing an anti-spitting guard that covered the lower part of her face, following previous episodes in court in which she became violent toward her own counsel. When asked by Judge Thomas Walsh if she had anything to tell the court before he handed down her sentence, Schabusiness uttered only: “There isn’t.”
Judge Walsh slammed a written statement by Schabusiness’ father, in which he argued that “the system” had failed his daughter. The judge said that while he sympathised with Schabusiness’ struggles, her heinous actions and unpredictable behaviour warranted her to be imprisoned for life.
“It’s not the system’s job to raise people’s children. Our fight against methamphetamines is not perfect but we carry on,” Judge Walsh said. “To suggest that it is somehow the system that failed ... it disturbed me when I read that piece. It really starts in the home. I’m convinced that it’s no one’s fault where they came from, but it is their responsibility where they go from there.”
Judge Walsh also ordered Schabusiness not to have contact with the victim’s family and recommended in-prison mental health and drug treatment. Before the sentencing, Thyrion’s father Michael Thyrion gave an emotional victim’s impact statement in which he said he forgave Schabusiness.
“I forgive you for what you did to my son,” Mr Thyrion said. “I’m going to miss Shad ... I’m going to ask the judge if you can see the streets sometime, it might not be soon. Everybody makes bad choices, maybe not to this degree but I think there is a lot of hope for you.
“And I think you can use your time to be a better person and do good things. I know you got a heart, I wish you no harm and I hope things go well for you.”
Meanwhile, Thyrion’s uncle Kelly Thyrion said that he hopes Schabusiness faces the same fate as serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who was beaten to death in prison after he was convicted of at least 17 murders.
“I don’t see no reason why you should have parole,” he told her. “You did the most cowardly, wicked thing possible ... After Judge Walsh sentences you today, I will pray that you meet the same fate as your idol Jeffrey Dahmer. So have a great life, S***business.”
Prosecutors commended Michael Thyrion’s attitude, noting that his son’s murder was one of the “most egregious and incomprehensible” methods of ending someone’s life. They said Schabusiness’ history of drug use and mental illnesses was not an excuse for her disturbing crimes.
“We saw her calmly describe what she engaged in ... at times even smirking. She told law enforcement that it happened because she liked it, it happened because she wanted to do it,” prosecutors told the court. “We also heard about how Shad was a good kid, how he would always kiss his dad goodbye on his way out and how he knitted and crocheted with his younger sister.”
Schabusiness’ grandmother Esther Coronado told the court as part of her witness statement that Schabusiness was once a loving mother but she relapsed into her addiction after child protective services took her son away just days after he was born.
“She was discharged from the hospital and left for a shelter,” Ms Coronado, who now has custody of the two-year-old child, told the court. “The people who were caring for the baby would bring him but only for a couple of minutes ... She was setting things up for [the baby] but they never got to come home together.”
Ms Coronado said Schabusiness had a hard childhood following her mother’s death in 2009. Shortly after, Schabusiness’ father married a woman who had three children of her own and didn’t get along with Schabusiness.
“She felt like she lost her mother and now she’s losing her dad because there were other children involved,” Ms Coronado said. “She and her brother ended up living in a basement. From a nice home that she had, she ended up living in a basement.”
Then in July 2021, Schabusiness’ brother AJ Coronado died in a motorcycle accident.
“That’s a lot for a young person to take in,” Ms Coronado said while choking back tears. “I know she was very heartbroken, it was very hard for her.”
Schabusiness’ cousin Valerie Armor, who is also a psychiatric nurse practitioner, said that the convicted murderer had experienced a lot of trauma throughout her life. Ms Armor testified that there was another side to Schabusiness — a woman who once had a witty sense of humour, just like her mother, but got lost along the way.
“I would like her to be considered for parole. I would like her to get a chance later in life to be with her son,” Ms Armor said. “She is not a lost cause, she is not a monster. She does need to be punished and ... my family, we apologise to Shad’s family for what’s happened.”
Schabusiness faced a mandatory life sentence following her conviction, but the judge was in charge of determining whether she could be granted the possibility of parole.
“I know she committed a crime,” Ms Armour said. “I believe she should have the opportunity to come back to society and be with her son.”
Her father Arturo Coronado, who is serving time following a conviction on charges of second-degree sexual assault of a child, also took the stand on Tuesday. Mr Coronado said that everyone in his family “loved Taylor,” but she had a dramatic personality change after she was introduced to methamphetamines by her husband and the father of her child, Warren Schabusiness.
“It was like night and day. She completely changed, she was a different person,” Mr Coronado said. “Knowing my daughter the way she was and the way I know she can still be .... She’s not the monster that she’s made out to be, that’s for sure.”
Warren Schabusiness is currently serving time at FCI Oxford over a drug conviction in 2020. He appeared to stand by his relationship with his daughter in a November 2022 post on Facebook.
“The world doesn’t know us for who we are. They don’t know the struggles we struggle with,” Warren Schabusinees wrote. “Mental illness, post-partum, bipolar and addiction play a big part in [the] choices we’ve made ... Drugs should have never been given to my wife, because it’s the drugs that caused her to do what she did.”
Schabusiness’ defence also called pharmacist Dr James O’Donnell to the stand. The doctor said that Schabusiness had likely suffered a drug-induced psychosis after taking “51 hits of methamphetamines” on the day of the murder.
Mr O’Donnell highlighted that the phrasing often referred to smoking, but that Schabusiness had mentioned also injecting herself with meth. He said that while he wasn’t sure how many grams of meth Schabusiness used, the quantity seemed extremely large.
“I’ve never heard of that much methamphetamine use,” Mr O’Donnell said, adding that Schabusiness had built resistance after using meth and marijuana nearly every day. “The chronic use caused constant daily injuries to the brain function and chemistry ... even without continued use, there is already chronic damage”
During cross-examination, prosecutors noted that Dr O’Donnell had not witnessed the “51 hits of methamphetamines” and that Schabusiness had been the one to relay that information.
Mr O’Donnell said that Schabusiness had spiralled out of control after she lost her job at a Cheesecake Factory because she was always high at work or unable to work at all. Her history of bipolar, schizoaffective spectrum disorder, PTSD, major depression disorder and untreated ADHD only exacerbated the effects of her drug use, Mr O’Donnell said.
Schabusiness’ attorney Christopher Froelich had tried to delay the sentencing, previously arguing that he didn’t have time to meet with his client to go over a pre-sentencing investigation report filed by the prosecution.
Mr Froelich said in an amended filing on Monday that he had an opportunity to meet with Schabusiness for several hours on Friday. Ahead of the sentencing, the attorney filed his own pre-sentencing investigation report, which included pictures of Schabusiness with her son, WBAY reported.
Earlier this year, Schabusiness’ former attorney entered a not-guilty plea for reason of insanity. The legal counsel left the case after she attacked him in court in February when the judge delayed her trial.
After prosecutors honed in on the atrocious evidence they said suggested premeditation, a jury determined that she did not suffer from a mental disease or defect when she carried out the murder.
During Schabusiness’ trial, which only lasted three days, detectives told the court about her online searches for “Jeffrey Dahmer walking into court all sexy” and “Jeffrey Dahmer’s butt.” Eleven days before she killed Thyrion, Schabusiness took a bizarre selfie next to a cellphone with an image of the cannibal serial killer.
The most damning evidence against Schabusiness came from disturbingly graphic detail about the way Thyrion’s body was mutilated. His head and genitals were left inside a bucket that his mother found at her home, while his carved-out torso with a foot stuffed inside and “chunks of his flesh” were discovered in her basement.
Schabusiness and Thyrion knew each other from middle school and had a sexual relationship before his murder.