MILWAUKEE -- Judge Jeffrey Conen on Friday afternoon, Jan. 26, delivered a judgement on the verdict handed down against Dan Popp, 41, in November. A jury ruled Popp was mentally ill at the time of a triple homicide in March of 2016 -- but able to conform his behavior to the law. In court on Friday, requests for Popp to go to a mental institution or have a new trial were denied. Sentencing has been set for Feb. 23, when Popp will learn how long he'll spend in prison.
Family members of Mai and Phia Vue, two of those killed in this case, said the decision in court Friday will finally allow their healing to begin.
"We've been waiting almost two years just to hear this verdict," the family said. "Even though it cannot bring them back, we can at least move towards healing."
Popp was remanded into custody in November. The judge did not enter a judgement of conviction after the verdict was handed down -- leaving Popp's future in limbo.
During the insanity phase of the trial, the court heard testimony that Popp was psychotic -- listening to God's voice and thinking people were robots.
On Friday the judge acknowledged this was a unique case.
"None of us have ever dealt with this before because these NGI (not guilty by reason of mental disease/defect) trials rarely go to a jury," the judge said.
Popp killed three people, including a Hmong couple in March of 2016 at an apartment building near 92nd and Beloit.
Family members of Mai and Phia Vue spoke out during an emotional press conference after the November hearing. Many in the Hmong community believe Popp was racist, not insane when the crime occurred.
A psychiatrist diagnosed him with mental illness -- and she also testified during the hearing. This, as the prosecutor played phone conversations between Popp and his mother in the weeks after the triple shooting -- showing that Popp seemed coherent, concerned about finances.
In addition to Mai and Phia Vue, Popp also shot and killed Jesus Manso-Perez at the apartment building where he lived.
Popp in September of 2017 pleaded no contest to three counts of first degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted first degree intentional homicide -- and was convicted of the crimes. He essentially pleaded guilty but not guilty due to mental disease or defect.
When it came to testifying on his own behalf, Popp turned down the opportunity.
Earlier in this case, there was a push to have it charged as a hate crime -- but that did not happen.
In the below video you'll hear what the family of Mai and Phia Vue had to say after Friday's decision from the judge that Popp will head to prison: