A Look Back at the Trial of Jeffrey Lepsch - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

A Look Back at the Trial of Jeffrey Lepsch


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- One of the biggest stories of 2013 was the trial of Jeffrey Lepsch. The 40-year-old faced two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for killing Paul and A.J. Petras inside May's Photo, a shop Paul owned.

On July 24, 10 months after Paul and A.J. were shot to death, opening arguments began in the Lepsch trial began. First on the stand was Sherri Petras, who found her son A.J.'s body.

Next, police testified surveillance footage from downtown businesses showed a distinct van outside May's Photo around the time of the murders. It was a Dodge with an upside-down trailer hitch. Investigators compiled a list of similar vans in the area and found one outside the home of Lepsch with a similar trailer hitch.

Detectives executed a search warrant on the home and testified that inside they found a number of items with serial numbers matching items missing from May's. They also found internet postings selling camera equipment on Lepsch's home computer.

In a taped interview with police the day of his arrest, Lepsch claimed he purchased the items on Craig's List. But police testified Lepsch had possession of or internet postings selling nearly all of the $17,000 worth of missing items. According to police Lepsch was broke. He was behind on his mortgage and owed more than $53,000 for a prior conviction and could not have purchased the items.

After about three days of testimony the prosecution rested and the defense presented their case in less than an hour. Calling only two witnesses: Lepsch's wife and his mother. Lepsch did not take the stand.

The jury deliberated for about four and a half hours before reaching a guilty verdict on all charges. Lepsch was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.

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