Homicide victim, suspect apparently had relationship

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Mike DuPre'
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Murder victim Danyetta Lentz and suspect James Koepp had a personal relationship, perhaps an affair, a reading of court documents filed this morning indicates.

Though formal murder charges have not yet been filed, Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden is convinced that Koepp was the sole killer of Lentz and her teenage children, Nicole and Scott.

They were found slain in their mobile home the morning of Jan. 12. Koepp was a neighbor in the mobile home park.

On Jan. 16, Koepp agreed to an interview with Rock County sheriff's detectives.

But after he missed the appointment, Koepp, crying and apparently drunk, called a detective and said: "I didn't do it. ...If I come forward, I'm going to lose my wife....

"I know you're going to arrest me. ...I'm going to hang up before you trace this call," Koepp said, according to affidavits written to secure search warrants for his home, car and person.

During a second call to the investigator, Koepp said: "I didn't do anything. I didn't f---g kill anyone. ...I was stupid. I was stupid. I did a dumb f---g thing."

The same day, a female detective was in Koepp's home interviewing his wife, Nancy, when Koepp called. The detective asked Nancy if she wanted her to talk to her husband.

Though the female detective identified herself, "it was obvious he thought I was his wife," the detective wrote. "He kept saying, 'I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," according to the affidavits.

Koepp hung up, called back, and the detective again tried to identify herself.

Apparently still thinking he was talking to his wife, Koepp kept saying: "I love you. I'm so sorry. It only happened once, and I know I f--d you over," according to the affidavits.

The day before the bodies were discovered, Nicole's boyfriend, James Warner, talked to her on the phone while she was home between 6:23 and 7:30 p.m. He told the detective that he heard a male voice in the background that was not Scott's and that Nicole told him that Koepp was in the Lentz home some time that day, according to the affidavits.

Nicole also mentioned that Koepp was the man who had previously fixed a broken window to her bedroom and that Koepp had told the Lentz family he had seen someone run from their home earlier that day, according to the affidavits.

Koepp told investigators he had not been to the Lentz home that day or any time during the previous two weeks. He said he was home watching TV, but his activities and whereabouts could not be verified, according to the affidavits.

Nineteen phone calls by Warner to Nicole went unanswered between 9:28 and 10:29 p.m. the night before Danyetta's father, Russell Lucht, discovered the bodies, and no outgoing calls were made after 6:23 p.m.

At least four different edged weapons were used to kill the Lentzes, according to the affidavits. It appears that investigators found one of the murder weapons, a knife, a reading of the affidavits indicates.

A forensic pathologist told investigators "one of Danyetta's wounds was consistent with being inflicted by a scissors-type instrument, and at least two different knives were used. Scissors consistent with the wounds ...were not recovered from the Lentz residence, and at least one of the knives used during the homicides was also not recovered," according to the affidavits.

Last updated: 1:17 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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