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"Her Son's Head is in the Bucket": Grisly Dismemberment Scene Shown in Body-Cam Footage at Trial for Woman Charged with Meth-Fueled Murder

Taylor Schabusiness is charged with strangling her friend, Shad Thyrion, to death, then sexually assaulting and dismembering his dead body during an alleged meth binge. 

By Elisabeth Ford
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

The murder trial for the Wisconsin woman charged in the grisly killing and dismembering of a Green Bay man in the basement of his mother’s home began Monday, with the jury being shown body-camera footage from the moment police arrived at the gruesome scene.

Since opening statements kicked off Monday, the jury has heard testimony from law enforcement, the victim’s family, and the 911 call placed the night Shad Thyrion's head was found in bucket.

RELATED: Taylor Schabusiness, Accused Of Dismembering Lover In Meth-Fueled Fetish Killing, Allegedly Attacked Defense Attorney In Court

What happened to Shad Thyrion?

Taylor Schabusiness is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and third-degree sexual assault for allegedly strangling Thyrion, her 24-year-old friend, to death with a metal chain in February of 2022 before sexually assaulting his dead body and dismembering him, leaving his severed head in a five-gallon bucket. She was also 24 at the time. 

Did Shad Thyrion's mother find her son's severed head?

Police responded to the Green Bay house where the incident occurred on February 23, 2022, after the victim’s mother, Tara Pakanich, called police to report she discovered her son’s disembodied head. "She lifts a towel that's covering the bucket, it's a beach towel. And unfortunately, sees essentially a mother's worst nightmare, that her son's head is in the bucket,” Deputy District Attorney Caleb Saunders said during the state’s opening statement at Schabusiness' murder trial, which was live streamed by ABC-affiliated station WBAY.

Taylor Denise Schabusiness Pd

Pakanich’s boyfriend, Steve Hendricks, testified Monday that he was woken up by Pakanich, who said she found her son’s head in a bucket. He said he did not believe her at first and thought she was having a mental breakdown.

RELATED: Wisconsin Woman Pleads Not Guilty In Sex Partner’s Allegedly Meth-Fueled Murder, Dismemberment

"She wakes me up crying telling me she found her son's head in a bucket," Hendricks said. "Yeah, it's a little disturbing."

The jury was shown footage from a body-worn camera from one of the police officers who initially arrived at the scene.

What was seen in police-worn body camera footage that was shown at Taylor Schabusiness' murder trial?

The video shows an officer walking down the steps to the basement of Pakanich’s home, where he sees the grisly sight as he turns the corner. "Lifted the towel off, and there was, in fact, a human severed head in the bucket," Green Bay Police Officer Alex Wanish said of seeing Thyrion's detached head. Wanish is seen in the footage looking around the basement as he takes in more of the bloody, gruesome crime scene.

According to a criminal complaint previously obtained by Oxygen.com, Thyrion’s head was found “severed from the neck.” A “male organ,” body fluid, and two knives were also found inside the bucket, while other various body parts were found in plastic bags scattered around the basement.

“If we could get more units sooner rather than later, that would be appreciated,” Wanish is heard on the body-camera video saying. “We’ve got quite a bit of blood down here.”

RELATED: Woman Charged In Meth-Fueled Dismemberment Of Green Bay Man Seeks Second Competency Exam

Schabusiness said she and Thyrion were using drugs, including meth, while engaging in violent sexual activity, leading up to the man’s alleged strangulation, according to the criminal complaint.

Prior to the trial, Schabusiness pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, which was entered on her behalf by her former attorney, who was allowed to step away from this duties after she attacked him in court on camera.

Why did Taylor Schabusiness attack her attorney?

Schabusiness attacked her defense lawyer in court in February of 2023 after the presiding judge suggested that her next court date should be pushed back. At the mental competency hearing for Schabusiness, an independent expert for the defense was set to testify to Schabusiness' mental health but couldn't. Judge Thomas J. Walsh suggested that the next court hearing be moved from March 6 to May 15 so that this expert could testify, and then Schabusiness reportedly lunged at her defense attorney Quinn Jolly, hitting him in the head with her elbow before being restrained by the bailiff.

If the jury finds Schabusiness guilty of the charges against her, a second phase of her trial will commence, which will focus on whether she suffered from a mental disease or defect during the incident.

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