Memorial service held for May's Photo's victims

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

LA CROSSE, Wis (WEAU)- Friday afternoon a memorial service was held for Paul and AJ Petras, the father and son who were killed in the Mays Photo homicide.

On September 15th, Paul and AJ Petras were murdered at their family business Mays Photo in downtown La Crosse.

Police say both were shot in the head, and more than 16 thousand dollars worth of camera equipment was stolen from the business.
Jeffrey Lepsch from Dakota, Minnesota is now charged with the homicides.

Both Paul and AJ Petras went to Aquinas High School in La Crosse. Paul graduated with the class of 74’ and AJ graduated with the class of 2011. Both were active in the school, participating in yearbook and the ski club.

Good friend and former classmate of Paul’s, Mark Schneider said that Paul always had a talent for photography.

“He was always so good at video and audio and was even better than the teachers,” said Schneider.

None of the family got up to speak at the service, but many friends did.
“It’s sad. I will never get over how senseless it was. Paul and AJ were great people,” said family friend Kathy Reinhart.

Reinhart’s son Riley and AJ were close friends that did everything together.

“I can’t remember a single birthday of mine he missed for the past 10 years I’ve known him,” said Riley in a pre-recorded speech for the memorial.

Schneider said that this memorial was more celebratory than the funeral.

“We’ve had a few months to think it over and now we have a sense of closure with the arrest.”

Even Father McGarty had special memories of AJ to share.

“I always knew AJ a little more than the other children. He was a snowboarder and I am a skier, and sometimes we would see each other on the ski hill. I would buy him hot chocolate one time and he would buy me one the next,” said McGarty.

One thing was clear at the service, Paul and AJ will be greatly missed.

“Every time I hear the tires screech or a boat roar off in the water I think of them. They always like their toys,” said Schneider.

“I know they are in heaven now looking down on us,” said Reinhart.

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