Since 2019, Gov. Tony Evers’ Parole Commission has released hundreds of convicted criminals, freeing them early on parole mostly into Wisconsin communities, including more than 300 murderers and attempted murderers, and more than 47 child rapists.
Dennis Steele was one of them. His release was discretionary.
36th in the series.
In a horrific child abuse death, Dennis Steele, then 21, beat a 3-week-old baby boy, Cody Wayne Meinke, to death when the child would not stop crying.
Old newspaper articles say Steele crushed the toddler’s skull “like an eggshell.” and broke nine ribs. He received a life sentence.
Dane County Circuit Judge Angela Bartel stated in court that Steele, then 22, was a risk to “anyone in his vicinity who is younger, weaker or smaller” than he is.
The newspaper article paraphrased the judge as saying that Steele “stands little chance of ever reining in his behavior. He had a pattern of violence that dated to third grade.
The infant had nine broken ribs and “massive head wounds.”
The prosecutor called Steele a “pitiful, pathetic and deficient human being.”
Evers’ Parole Commission Freed Dennis Steele Early
Date paroled: 2/28/2022
Current Residence: Madison, WI
Convicted: First-degree intentional homicide
Sentence: Life Sentence. Killers serving life sentences do not qualify for mandatory release. The parole was discretionary.
The Victim: Cody Wayne Meinke, 3-weeks-old
What the Killer Did:
Steele “lost it” when the child’s mother went to the store and the toddler wouldn’t stop crying.
“He swung the baby by an ankle and smashed him into a hard object fracturing his skull and breaking his ribs, arm, and leg,” old newspaper articles say.
The baby was hit repeatedly in the face with enough force to cause the crushing of the skull, eight fractured ribs, jaw and leg, and arm fractures. Steele, 54, lives today in Madison. He was released on discretionary parole in February.
The prosecutor said there was a “great likelihood Mr. Steele will always be a risk to the community.”