Janesville76.1°

Murder charges for Koepp depend on evidence analysis

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Mike DuPre'
April 12, 2007

Rock County District Attorney David O'Leary is waiting for the State Crime Laboratory in Madison to analyze all the evidence in a triple homicide before deciding whether to file charges against a man described as the crime's sole suspect.


"Obviously, there's a great deal of evidence in this case. The lab is analyzing it piece by piece. That takes time, " O'Leary said Wednesday.


Sheriff Bob Spoden has said James C. Koepp, 48, is the only suspect in the murders of Danyetta Lentz and her teenage children, Nicole and Scott.


Their bodies were found Jan. 12 in their mobile home at Janesville Terrace, 3315 S. Highway 51, where they were neighbors with Koepp.


While the sheriff has declared his department's investigation was substantially finished, O'Leary said a couple weeks ago that the probe continued because he did not have enough evidence to prove charges of first-degree intentional homicide beyond a reasonable doubt.


O'Leary said then: "Law enforcement's burden is to arrest when they have probable cause. As the chief law enforcement officer of the county, my duty is to protect the community by obtaining a guilty verdict, not merely by filing charges.


"My burden is to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I don't charge until I have proof beyond a reasonable doubt."


Since then, Koepp pleaded guilty to a charge of recklessly endangering safety.


That charge resulted from a chase he led sheriff's deputies on when he was supposed to be talking to detectives about the triple homicide.


Koepp was sentenced to four years in prison and five years extended supervision.


He was taken Wednesday to Dodge Correctional Institution.


O'Leary said the crime lab updates him at least every other week on what evidence has been tested and what will be analyzed.


"We're waiting for them to test everything relevant and that could be of use to us in our case," O'Leary said.


"Obviously, Mr. Koepp's plea and sentencing gives us time to do that."



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