LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN (WXOW)-- A judge ordered 39-year-old Jeffrey Lepsch to stand trial on charges of first degree intentional homicide in connection with the deaths of Paul and A.J. Petras. The father and son were shot to death in May's Photo, a business Paul owned, on September 15.
At the preliminary hearing for Lepsch on Thursday, the prosecution laid out some of the evidence, including surveillance video from local businesses. Investigators testified that the video shows a van matching one owned by the defendant.
Attorney Joe Veenstra, who is not affiliated with the case, says video footage appears to be some of the strongest evidence for the prosecution.
"In a case where you have sort of unusual facts, like in this case there's evidence apparently, of a trailer hitch that shows up upside-down on several videos, it's something I think a lot of juries would find convincing," Veenstra said.
But there are details police admit cannot be determined in that video. Investigators testified you cannot see the face of the suspect entering May's Photo, or identify his or her race.
"The best evidence for the defense is that there's a lack of clarity of the individual that's walking in and out of the store, from what I've heard," Veenstra said.
The prosecution said the state crime lab is still processing evidence and the defense has yet to call any witnesses.
"You only have to show probable cause that felony has been committed," Veenstra said. "So it's possible there's other evidence out there that hasn't been submitted."
Investigators also testified about other evidence police collected, including items recovered during a search of Lepsch's home, that matched serial numbers of equipment missing from the camera store.
One thing police have not recovered is .22 caliber gun they believed was used in the homicides.
"Generally speaking, in cases involving allegations where a weapon was used, the prosecution prefers to have a weapon, obviously, and the defense prefers not to have one," Veenstra said. "But it's not necessary. Many people have been convicted of firearms crimes without a weapon being found."
Lepsch will be in court again December 4 for a status conference.
He remains in the La Crosse County Jail on a $2 Million dollar cash bond.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.