NBC15 WMTV | Madison, WI | News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Man gets life for killing father, son in La Crosse

UPDATED Tuesday, September 3, 2013 --- 12:55 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- A Minnesota man has been sentenced to life in prison without release for the shooting deaths of a western Wisconsin photography store owner and his teenage son.

The La Crosse Tribune reports Jeffrey Lepsch, of Dakota, Minn., did not make a statement during the sentencing in La Crosse County Tuesday.

The 40-year-old was found guilty in July of killing 56-year-old Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son A.J. in May's Photo in La Crosse on Sept. 15, 2012. He was also convicted of robbing them of $17,000 worth of equipment.

Family and attorneys kept statements short during the 45-minute hearing.

Sherri Petras, Paul Petras' wife and A.J.'s mother, said she felt bad for his kids but it was his decision. She said he shouldn't have taken her family.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

____________________________________

UPDATED Monday, July 30, 2013 --- 5:56 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- A jury in western Wisconsin has convicted a Minnesota man of fatally shooting a La Crosse photography store owner and his teenage son in a robbery.

The jury deliberated four hours Tuesday before convicting 40-year-old Jeffrey Lepsch.

The Dakota, Minn., man was found guilty of killing 56-year-old Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son A.J. in May's Photo in downtown La Crosse on Sept. 15 and then cleaning out their store of about $17,000 worth of equipment.

The La Crosse Tribune reports Lepsch faces a life sentence.

Prosecutor Tim Gruenke says the victims' family is satisfied with the verdict but adds, "it's hard to be happy."

The prosecution argued Lepsch needed the camera equipment to sell for cash to support his family.

Lepsch's attorney called the state's evidence a "mirage."

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

______________________________________________________

UPDATED Tuesday, July 30, 2013 --- 3:06 p.m.

From our news partner, WEAU in Eau Claire:

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) – A jury has convicted the man police say shot and killed a father and son at a business in downtown La Crosse in September 2012.

A judge read the verdict in the trial of Jeffrey Lepsch, 40, of Dakota, MN Tuesday afternoon. He was convicted on two counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide, a count of Armed Robbery with Use of Force, and a count of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm A sentencing date hasn’t been set. The verdict came after nearly four hours of deliberation.

______________________________________________________

UPDATED Tuesday, July 30, 2013 --- 3:14 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- Jurors are deliberating in the double homicide trial of a Minnesota man accused of killing a Wisconsin photography store owner and his teenage son.

The La Crosse County jury of seven men and five women began deliberating at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday in the case of Jeffrey Lepsch.

The Dakota, Minn., man is accused of fatally shooting Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son A.J. in May's Photo in downtown La Crosse on Sept. 15 before taking off with $17,000 worth of equipment.

Prosecutor Tim Gruenke says Lepsch "accomplished what he set out to do -- commit a robbery and kill the witnesses."

Gruenke says Lepsch needed the camera equipment to sell for cash to support his family.

The La Crosse Tribune reports Lepsch's attorney called the state's evidence a "mirage."

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

_____________________________________________

UPDATED Monday, July 29, 2013 --- 11:22 a.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- The man accused of killing a photography store owner and his adult son won't testify in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

The defense for Jeffrey Lepsch rested Monday after jurors heard testimony from the defendant's wife and from his mother. Lepsch's wife, Angie, testified her husband wasn't capable of killing someone. Lepsch's mother, Sharon Lepsch, said her son never displayed any violent behavior.

Earlier, a Whitehall woman testified she bought a camera from Lepsch after Paul and A.J. Petras were fatally shot at May's Photo and $20,000 in merchandise was stolen. She called police after seeing Lepsch and his arrest on the news. The La Crosse Tribune says she turned the camera over to police who identified it as one stolen from May's.

Attorneys will deliver closing arguments Tuesday before jurors begin their deliberations.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

________________________________________

UPDATED Wednesday, July 24, 2013 --- 7:29 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- The defense contends a Minnesota man on trial for the fatal shootings of a Wisconsin camera store owner and his teenage son is not a killer.

Jurors in La Crosse County court heard opening statements Wednesday in the trial of Jeffrey Lepsch of Dakota, Minn.

Prosecutors allege Lepsch shot Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son, A.J., and stole merchandise at May's Photo in downtown La Crosse last September.

Defense attorney Vincent Rust called Lepsch a family man who is not violent. Rust also says Lepsch's DNA is not at the crime scene.

The La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/11eyPmx ) reports prosecutors argue that Lepsch killed the father and son before leaving the store with 27 cameras, lenses and other merchandise worth about $17,000.

The defense has not indicated whether Lepsch will testify.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATED Wednesday, July 24, 2013 --- 6:25 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- The defense contends a Minnesota man on trial for the fatal shootings of a Wisconsin camera store owner and his teenage son is not a killer.

Jurors in La Crosse County court heard opening statements Wednesday in the trial of Jeffrey Lepsch of Dakota, Minn.

Prosecutors allege Lepsch shot Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son, A.J., and stole merchandise at May's Photo in downtown La Crosse last September.

Defense attorney Vincent Rust called Lepsch a family man who is not violent. Rust also says Lepsch's DNA is not at the crime scene.

The La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/11eyPmx ) reports prosecutors argue that Lepsch killed the father and son before leaving the store with 27 cameras, lenses and other merchandise worth about $17,000.

The defense has not indicated whether Lepsch will testify.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATED Tuesday, July 23, 2013 --- 6:30 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- A jury has been selected in western Wisconsin in the trial of a Minnesota man accused of killing a camera store owner and his teenage son.

The La Crosse Tribune reports attorneys Tuesday selected a 15-member jury, including three alternates, for Jeffrey Lepsch's trial.

La Crosse County prosecutors say they will argue that heavy debt caused Lepsch to fatally shoot Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son, A.J. and steal merchandise at May's Photo in La Crosse last September.

The 40-year-old Dakota, Minn., man has denied any involvement in the slayings. Authorities say Lepsch needed money to pay a $60,000 judgment against him in a 2003 theft case.

Lepsch is charged with two counts of first-degree homicide, armed robbery with the use of force and illegal possession of a firearm.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

______________________________________________________

UPDATED Tuesday, July 23, 2013 --- 11:05 a.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- Jury selection is under way in western Wisconsin in the trial of a Minnesota man accused of killing a camera store owner and his teenage son.

Prosecutors in La Crosse County say they will argue that heavy debt caused Jeffrey Lepsch to fatally shoot Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son, A.J. and steal merchandise at May's Photo in La Crosse last September.

The 40-year-old Dakota, Minn., man has denied any involvement in the slayings. A criminal complaint says Lepsch stole $20,000 worth of merchandise from the photo store. Authorities say Lepsch needed money to pay a $60,000 judgment against him in a 2003 theft case.

Lepsch is charged with two counts of first-degree homicide, armed robbery with the use of force and illegal possession of a firearm.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

_______________________________________

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013 --- 8:59 p.m.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- The trial for a Minnesota man accused of killing a La Crosse photography store owner and his son last September is set to begin this week.

Prosecutors are expected to argue that outstanding debt from a prior felony case drove Jeffrey Lepsch, a hobby photographer, to rob May's Photo on Sept. 15 and shoot 56-year-old Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son A.J.

The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/159vEx8) jury selection is set for Tuesday and Lepsch's trial is expected to last nine days.

His three public defenders have not revealed the defense.

The 40-year-old from Dakota, Minn. is charged in La Crosse County with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, armed robbery with use of force and possession of a firearm.

Lepsch remains jailed on a $2 million cash bond.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
NBC15 615 Forward Drive Madison, Wisconsin 53711 Business: 608-274-1515 Newsroom: 608-274-1500
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 216377991 - nbc15.com/a?a=216377991