Jury selected in Lepsch homicide trial - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Jury selected in Lepsch homicide trial

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Opening arguments begin Wednesday in the trial of Jeffrey Lepsch.

The 40-year-old Lepsch is charged in the shooting deaths of  56-year-old Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son A.J. at the photo store they owned last September.

The jury was selected Tuesday. Eight women and seven men make up the jury panel that will hear arguments over the next nine days. The day began with more than 40 potential jurors and by the afternoon was whittled down to 15, 12 will deliberate and three are alternates.

Both attorneys spent the afternoon questioning the panel. The District Attorney, Tim Gruenke,

asked about the importance of motive and what jurors though reasonable doubt means

"Does anyone think that two inconsistent stories alone means there must be reasonable doubt?" Gruenke asked the potential jurors.

Joe Veenstra, an attorney not affiliated with the case, says honesty from jurors is crucial for the prosecution.

"Really the prosecution primarily wants to make sure you get a panel that includes jurors who are not saying anything false because if they're going to get a conviction, they want to get one that's going to stand up on appeal and not have problems with the process," Veenstra said.

Meanwhile defense attorney Vincent Rust, stressed the idea of innocent until proven guilty. He also asked if jurors thought someone could be a thief and not a killer

"If the evidence in this case shows that Jeff is a thief but not a murderer, is there anybody who has a problem with acquitting him?" Rust asked.

"The defense is looking for people who are open minded, who will really hold the state to the burden of proof, who, despite what has been heard in the media, will take seriously that presumption of innocence going in to the case," Veenstra said.

Opening arguments begin at 8:30 AM Wednesday. Lepsch faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

WXOW.com will be livestreaming the trial.  Watch by clicking here

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