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Jury selected in photo store homicide case

By: Sarah Moon, AP Email
By: Sarah Moon, AP Email

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A 12-person jury will hear the trial of a man accused of murdering a father and son in downtown La Crosse.

Forty-year-old Jeffrey Lepsch of Dakota, Minnesota, is accused of killing Paul and A.J. Petras in September of 2012.

Prosecutors said he was robbing their business, May’s Photo at the time.

“Do you believe you have sufficient time and preparation to consult with you attorneys?” said Judge Ramona Gonzalez.

“Yes,” said Jeffrey Lepsch.

Twelve people were picked to be on the jury Tuesday afternoon.

There are also 3-alternates.

Before all that, lawyers from both sides asked potential jurors questions.

“The defendant is accused of killing two people, Paul Petras and A.J. Petras. Now even though the idea of someone killing somebody else is a horrible idea, and many of us can’t relate to that, does anyone here think it’s impossible?” said La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke.

“Not what we talked about with our friends and family, not what we saw on the news, but the evidence in this courtroom that’s presented to you is that Jeff’s a thief, but not a killer can you acquit him?” said defense attorney Vincent Rust.

Police say Jeffrey Lepsch killed 56-year-old Paul Petras, and his son 19-year-old A.J. Petras while robbing their business May’s Photo in downtown La Crosse in September of last year.

Autopsy results showed the two were found inside May’s Photo and shot in the head.

Paul also had a gunshot wound to the neck.

Police said Lepsch stole more than $16,000 in camera equipment from May’s Photo.

Some of it was found in Lepsch’s home.

Police said he had started selling it.

Opening arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m.

The trial is expected to go until August 2.

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU)--A 12 person jury had been selected in the trial of a Minnesota man accused of killing a camera store owner and his teenage son.

Seven women and eight men were chosen; 12 for the jury and three as alternate jury members. The court is expected to reconvene Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

Jeffrey Lepsch is accused of shooting and killing Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son, A.J. at May's Photo in La Crosse last September.

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.

We'll have the latest on the trial on WEAU 13 News at 6.
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- Jury selection is underway 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.


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