Karen Lueders, of Sheboygan, charged with biting husband's tongue off
BY ERIC LITKE :http://www.sheboyganpress.com
A Sheboygan woman accused of biting off her husband’s tongue while kissing him was charged Tuesday with felony mayhem and ordered to undergo a mental evaluation.
Karen Lueders, 57, of 2833 Windepoint Court, severed half of Willard Lueders’ tongue during a “manic episode” about 11 p.m. Monday, authorities said. She now faces a rarely used felony — related to intentional disfigurement or mutilation — that carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.
Karen Lueders made an initial appearance Thursday before Judge L. Edward Stengel, but that was adjourned when Stengel ordered that she undergo a mental health evaluation.
“There is certainly a basis for the court to question her ability to understand the nature of these proceedings and assist in her defense,” Stengel said.
Assistant District Attorney Jim Haasch had requested the evaluation, calling her behavior “very bizarre to say the least.” He said
Click to view image: 'Karen Lueders'Karen Lueders had Experienced “very manic episodes” of late.
Karen Lueders did not speak during the court appearance, but she leaned over to a reporter as she was escorted out in handcuffs, saying, “I love you, it’s too bad you don’t listen.” While leaving the courtroom she continued in the same singsong voice, saying, “I love you. Karen Lueders.”
According to authorities:
A criminal complaint said Karen Lueders was “still carrying a New Year’s horn in her hand and singing Christmas carols” outside her house as the first police officers arrived on scene. They had been summoned by a 911 call from her husband.
As officers asked what kind of help was needed, Karen Lueders blew the horn in an officer’s ear. She also threw a coffee cup at police.
Police found Willard Lueders, 79, in a bedroom holding gauze to his mouth. Emergency responders told police his tongue had been bitten off, and by nodding to officers’ questions he confirmed that his wife was responsible. Lueders also told officers she had bitten off her husband's tongue.
In a later written statement, he said the incident began when he went into the bathroom while his wife was on the toilet. When he leaned over to kiss her, she went into a “manic state,” grabbing his genitals and biting off his tongue.
Click to view image: 'Karen Lueders '
Willard Lueders said his wife had been behaving oddly in the preceding days, speaking very fast and talking about spiritual things.
Police recovered the severed half of Willard Lueders’ tongue and sent it with him to Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center. He was later transferred to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa, where doctors worked to reattach the tongue.
Froedtert spokeswoman Kathy Sieja said Willard Lueders was in satisfactory condition as of this afternoon, but he would not allow additional information to be released.
Online court records list no prior convictions for Karen Lueders, who is being held in jail in lieu of a $5,000 cash bond.
Capt. Karol Salara, jail administrator, declined comment on Karen Lueders’ arrangements at the jail, but he said precautions are taken for inmates with potential mental health concerns.
“I can’t comment on her specifically, but if we have somebody that could be under some kind of mental stress, we do a screening upon their booking into the jail,” Salata said. “We would potentially have an (isolated) area to put them in for safety and the protection of themselves or others.”
Haasch said the competency exam must be completed within 15 days, and the results will be presented at a continued initial appearance soon after. The results will determine whether Karen Lueders will proceed to a preliminary hearing or undergo mental health treatment.
District Attorney Joe DeCecco said he doesn’t remember a mayhem charge being filed in Sheboygan County during his 21 years as a prosecutor. His office’s detailed database goes back only to 2005, and no mayhem charges were filed in that span
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