Robbery likely motive behind Wis. photo store killings

6:14 PM, Oct 11, 2012   |    comments
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LA CROSSE, Wis. - Police say a Minnesota man charged with killing a father and son at their La Crosse photography store stole more than $16,000 in camera equipment.

Prosecutors have charged 39-year-old Jeffrey Lepsch of Dakota, Minn., with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of 56-year-old Paul Petras and his 19-year-old son, A.J.

They were found shot to death in the family's downtown photography shop on Sept. 15.

Lepsch also faces one count of armed robbery and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

La Crosse Police Chief Ron Tischer told reporters during a news conference Thursday morning that surveillance video from nearby businesses shows a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt entering the shop, then leaving in a blue minivan with a short wheelbase and an upside down trailer hitch.

Investigators ran a trace if all vans with that description in the La Crosse area, and it eventually led them to a van registered to Lepsch's wife. Detectives searched the home and recovered 14 pieces of camera equipment from the Petras' shop.

Lepsch denied having been at May's photo the day of the murders.  If found guilty, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison.  

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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