Sheriff is satisfied despite no lab results

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Mike DuPre'
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sheriff Bob Spoden is not upset with the State Crime Laboratory even though two weeks have gone by since the arrest of James C. Koepp on suspicion of three murders and the lab still has not released results of its analysis of evidence gathered.

Rock County District Attorney David O'Leary is holding off filing of formal charges of first-degree intentional homicide until the Rock County Sheriff's Department produces more evidence.

Koepp is in jail in lieu of $60,000 bond imposed for four traffic charges. He remains the sole suspect in the killings of Danyetta Lentz and her teenage children, Nicole and Scott, Spoden said.

"As we continue to dig further, the light continues to shine very brightly on Mr. Koepp," Spoden said this morning.

The backlog at the crime lab is well documented, but Spoden said he is satisfied the lab has put top priority on the rare triple homicide and is doing a thorough analysis.

"For us to pester them each day doesn't move the case forward," he said, adding that the lab has assigned a specific analyst to work solely on the Lentz murders.

The lab told the sheriff's department that 10 working days of analysis is not a long time, Chief Deputy Barb Barrington-Tillman said.

Much evidence was collected from the Lentz mobile home Jan. 12, the day their bodies were discovered, but search warrants were not executed on Koepp, his home and vehicles until Jan. 17-18. He was arrested on the traffic charges Jan. 16 and on suspicion of the murders Jan. 17.

The sheriff's department sent 72 pieces of evidence-just some of the items collected-to the lab for analysis, and the lab's own investigators were at the crime scene for 14 hours after the Lentzes were found slain in their mobile home in Janesville Terrace, 3315 S. Highway 51, Spoden said.

"I'm very impressed with them," Spoden said. "They're very dedicated to giving us the best process they can."

The lab does not release preliminary findings; it issues a summary report when analysis is complete, Spoden explained.

The sheriff's investigation continues.

"We're looking at cell phone records and tracking down any rumors out there," Spoden said. "We have a very solid case that regardless of what the lab analysis produces."

Last updated: 9:26 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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