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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — Bail has been set at $500,000 cash for each of three suspects charged in connection with a homicide in the Town of Dunn.
Ryan L. Steinhoff, age 37, Chad D. Turgeson, age 37 and Ashley A. Gunder, age 24, made an initial appearance in Dunn County Circuit Court before Judge James Peterson on November 25.
Steinhoff, Turgeson and Gunder are each charged with first degree intentional homicide, as a party to a crime, in connection with the death of Bruce E. McGuigan, age 37, of Hayward, at N2564 440th Street in the Town of Dunn November 17.
Steinhoff and Gunder also are both charged with multiple counts of felony bail jumping.
According to a news release from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, deputies started a homicide investigation at around 3:42 p.m. November 17 after responding to N2564 440th Street to check on the welfare of someone at the residence and discovered a deceased adult, white male.
One suspect was taken into custody at the residence, and two others were arrested at a motel in Menomonie later that evening at around 11:30 p.m.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on the deceased, who was identified as Bruce E. McGuigan. The pathologist determined the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.
McGuigan was known to at least one of the suspects, and the homicide was not random, according to the news release.
During the initial appearance November 25, Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf told the court that Steinhoff was on a probation hold and asked for a cash bail of $500,000.
Steinhoff is a member of the Simon City Royals gang, is the leader of the gang in the Midwest and is homeless, she said.
Nodolf also asked that Steinhoff be ordered by the court to have no contact with the co-defendants in the case, Turgeson and Gunder, and also no contact with Courtney C. Rice, age 45, and George C. Welch, age 50, the owner of the home.
Steinhoff currently is on extended supervision for a 2006 case in which he was convicted of robbery with the use of force and substantial battery in Marathon County, the district attorney said.
Attorney Shelly Tomtschik, who represented all three defendants during their initial appearances, told the court she did not believe a cash bail of $500,000 was necessary for Steinhoff but that the defendant knew he was facing a cash bail and would not argue the bail set by the court.
All three defendants appeared in court by video conferencing from the Dunn County Jail.
At one point during Steinhoff’s initial appearance, Nodolf noted the defendant was laughing and apparently thought there was something funny about the case.
Later on, Steinhoff told the court he was laughing at the idea that he was the Midwest leader of the Simon City Royals but that he was not laughing about the case itself.
During Turgeson’s initial appearance, Nodolf told the court that the defendant was released from prison in July of this year, that he is currently on extended supervision and that he has had some failures to report for supervision.
Turgeson had prior convictions for possession of methamphetamine as a repeater and for fraud, she said.
Online court records list an Eau Claire address for Turgeson.
Because of the violent nature of the crime, Nodolf asked for a $500,000 cash bail for Turgeson.
Tomtschik said Turgeson was a lifetime resident of the area and has had some college. She acknowledged he was on a probation hold and asked that bail be set at less than $500,000 cash.
In view of the seriousness of the allegations combined with recently being released from prison, being on a probation hold and being on extended supervision, Judge Peterson set bail at $500,000 cash for Turgeson and also ordered him to have no contact with the co-defendants and with Rice and Welch.
Gunder also is on a probation hold, and during interviews with investigators, said she is a member of the Bloods gang in the Twin Cities, that this is not the first time she’s been through something like this but that it is the first time she has had to deal with a body, Nodolf told the court.
There are two warrants out for Gunder’s arrest in Eau Claire County, and she is facing three pending felonies, the district attorney said.
Because of the violent and brutal nature of the crime and because Gunder is a flight risk, Nodolf asked the court to set bail at $500,000 cash.
Online court records list a Saint Anthony, Minnesota, address for Gunder.
Tomtschik said a $500,000 cash bail was not necessary because Gunder intended to remain in Dunn County until the case was concluded and asked for a smaller cash bail.
Judge Peterson set bail for Gunder at $500,000 cash and ordered her to have no contact with the co-defendants in the case or with Welch.
Steinhoff, Turgeson and Gunder are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. December 3.
Upon conviction, first degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison.
The Simon City Royals are a street gang that began in Chicago in the late 1950s.
According to online sources, the Royals are one of the oldest and largest white gangs in the United States and are involved with the trafficking of illegal drugs as well as racketeering and loan sharking.
The Bloods gang also is known as the Original Blood Family and is primarily an African-American street gang founded in Los Angeles.
The Bloods gang has branched out all over the United States and is known to have various subgroups that have significant differences.
The original Bloods gang is known for rivalry with the Crips.