Analysis leaves Koepp as lone suspect

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Mike DuPre'
Tuesday, March 6, 2007

DNA analysis is complete on several items of evidence gathered in a triple murder, and the spotlight of suspicion remains focused on James C. Koepp alone.

The bodies of Danyetta Lentz and her teenage children, Scott and Nicole, were found in their mobile home south of Janesville on Jan. 12. Four days later, Koepp, their neighbor, was arrested on suspicion of the murders and four traffic charges resulting from a chase.

But Rock County District Attorney David O'Leary backed off on filing first-degree intentional homicide charges. He said more evidence was needed.

Sheriff Bob Spoden instructed his investigators to build as tight a circumstantial case as possible against Koepp, 47, while awaiting results of DNA analysis by the State Crime Laboratory.

Koepp remains in jail in lieu of $60,000 cash bond on the traffic charges.

Spoden and O'Leary have received a final report on the lab's DNA analysis of "several items of evidence," the sheriff said in a press release this morning.

"As has been the case since his arrest, James Koepp remains the sole suspect in these three murders. This case has now been turned over to the district attorney's office for further action," Spoden said in the release.

O'Leary this morning said he had no comment on the case pending his office's review of evidence.

"Because this is a pending criminal matter, we are unable to comment on the results of any crime laboratory analysis, as we do not wish to prejudice any future criminal case by discussing matters of evidence," the sheriff's release said.

A single crime lab staffer was assigned specifically to analyze potential DNA evidence in the Lentz murders. The crime lab dispatched its own mobile unit to the crime scene, and the sheriff's department sent dozens of pieces of potential evidence in for analysis of many types, not just DNA comparison.

Typically, evidence with the most potential effect on a case is analyzed first, other police officers have said.

Further DNA analysis and forensic analysis of other types of evidence still must be completed, Spoden said.

But, he said, the sheriff's department investigation is substantially complete.

"The department's entire investigative file, including over 1,000 pages of investigative reports, 386 photographs and other miscellaneous items have been compiled and forwarded to the Rock County District Attorney's Office," Spoden said.

If new information surfaces, the sheriff's department will investigate it, he said, adding:

"Anything can happen. But our belief is that we have the sole and only suspect. For our end of it, our investigation is complete.

"In my 20 years experience in law enforcement, this has been the most thorough, complete investigation I've seen. It's been a credit to our officers in their effort to bring justice for these three people."

Last updated: 3:59 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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