Janesville74.3°

Koepp enters not guilty plea

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
May 20, 2008
— Attorneys for triple-murder suspect James C. Koepp are expected to again ask that the charges against their client be dismissed.

Koepp pleaded not guilty Monday in Rock County Court.


Assistant public defender Walter Isaacson indicated he would again move to dismiss the case in pretrial hearings based on his claims that the criminal complaint is insufficient.


District Attorney David O’Leary said after the hearing that such motions are standard procedure in felony cases.


O’Leary said he also expected the defense to question whether Koepp can get a fair trial in Rock County because of pretrial publicity and also a challenge of court-commissioner ruling that there is probable cause to proceed to trial.


Hearings leading to a trial are expected in front of Rock County Judge Alan Bates, but none has been scheduled.


Koepp, 49, is accused in the slayings of his neighbors Danyetta Lentz and her teenage children Nicole and Scott in their home just south of Janesville in January 2007


Koepp is charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide. He pleaded not guilty on all three counts at Monday’s arraignment.


Koepp could be sentenced to three consecutive life terms if convicted, said Court Commissioner Charles Holznecht.


“Life, life, life; do you understand that, sir?” Holznecht asked.


“Yes,” Koepp replied.


For the second time in a row, court officials were unable to establish a video link with Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, so Koepp “appeared” at Monday’s hearing via telephone.


The hearing was postponed last week because of a lack of a video link. Koepp waived his right Monday to appear in person or via video.


Koepp is serving a prison sentence at Columbia for felony fleeing. He led Rock County sheriff’s deputies on a chase when he was supposed to be talking to investigators about the murders.



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