Defense questions not preserving evidence - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Defense questions not preserving evidence


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - The lead defense attorney for Jeffrey Lepsch questions why investigators failed to preserve evidence which they contend could clear their client.

Day three of the Lepsch homicide trial began Friday morning with attorney Vincent Rust questioning DCI Agent Vern Vandeberg about video surveillance footage from the Azara Hookah shop.  Specifically, Rust asked about video from 3:30 p.m. until police arrived at May's Photo and found the bodies of Paul and AJ Petras. 

Surveillance video shown to jurors on Thursday displayed a person leaving May's around that time.  Other video surveillance led investigators to Lepsch. 

The defense contends that someone other than Lepsch went into the store around 4:15 p.m. and killed the father and son.  

Rust had Vandeberg admit that he could have gotten a search warrant to get the computer on which the surveillance video was recorded, but didn't because the owner was being cooperative with investigators. Vandeberg also testified he waited to get a copy of the video and by the time he went to get it, it had been erased.

In following up that line of questioning, District Attorney Tim Gruenke asked Vandeberg if he had watched the video before it was erased.  Vandeberg said he and four other investigators had watched from the time period of 1:30 p.m. until police pulled up to the store and saw no one else either go into or leave the May's.

Other testimony Friday morning came from forensic computer expert Matthew Oleson with the Department of Criminal Investigation. He analyzed a computer taken from Jeffrey Lepsch's home following his arrest.  He testified to the web history found on the computer.  Oleson said it showed a visit to seller pages on two days after the homicides.  The pages contained pieces of camera equipment for sale.

Investigators found roughly $17,000 worth of camera equipment at Lepsch's home when the searched it the day of his arrest on the homicide charges.

As the morning concluded, one forensic scientist testified none of Lepsch's DNA was found at the scene.  However, another forensic scientist stated that a palm print matching Lepsch was discovered inside of May's.

Kristen Barbaresi will have a look at the day's testimony this evening on Live at Five, the 6pm and 10pm Reports. is also live streaming the trial.  Click here to watch the coverage

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