Investigators say Lepsch killed Paul and AJ Petras at their family photo shop in La Crosse in 2012.
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - The man who was found guilty in the murders of a father and son in downtown La Crosse was sentenced Tuesday. It’s life in prison without the chance for parole for 40-year-old Jeffrey Lepsch of Dakota, Minnesota. Prosecutor said he shot and killed 56-year-old Paul Petras and 19-year-old A.J. Petras at May’s Photo in downtown La Crosse last September.
Police said he stole more than $16,000 worth of camera equipment. Paul’s wife and A.J.’s mom Sherri spoke during the sentencing, and said this was a choice Lepsch made.
“He took it away from his kids. He did it himself. I feel bad for his kids, but it was his decision. He shouldn’t have taken our family away from us,” said Sherri Petras.
Sherri’s daughter Allison didn’t speak during the sentencing, but Judge Ramona Gonzalez read a letter from Allison that said every day was a struggle. Her letter also said family was the most important part of her life, and she had a small one to begin with.
“Now it has shrunk even more. I would give anything to have them both back,” said Allison Petras’ letter.
La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke said Lepsch received the right sentence. He also said he’s not sure if there will ever be closure for the Petras family.
“They were very satisfied. It’s still sad, but felt at least a chapter is done, and they can try to move on, and glad that they got this result,” said Gruenke.
Lepsch declined to talk at the sentencing. However his attorney Vincent Rust said this isn’t an easy time for anyone.
“This is a horrible tragedy for the Petras family. My client understands that. This is also a horrible tragedy for my client’s family,” said Rust.
Lepsch’s attorney said he is planning to file an appeal. Lepsch also received prison sentences for armed robbery with use of force and possession of a firearm.
The man convicted of murder in the deaths of a father and son at a photo shop will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
On Tuesday, a judge sentenced Jeffrey Lepsch, 40, of Dakota, MN to life in prison without the chance for extended supervision on each of two counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide.
In July, a jury convicted Lepsch on the two murder charges, a charge of robbery, and a charge of being a felon with a gun.
Watch for continuing coverage on this story on WEAU 13 News at Noon.