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Convicted murderer Jeffrey Lepsch seeks new trial

Minnesota man convicted of killing father, son in Wisconsin camera store seeks new trial

Convicted murderer Jeffrey Lepsch seeks new trial

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) - The man convicted of killing a father and son at their downtown La Crosse photo shop wants a new trial.

Forty-one-year-old Jeffrey Lepsch is currently serving two life sentences for the murders of Paul Petras and his son AJ at May's Photo in September 2012.

About a year into his sentence, Lepsch argues some of the jurors in the case were bias in their decision.

In the motion filed last week, Lepsch and his attorney said nine out of the 12 jurors showed bias because they believed Lepsch was guilty before ever hearing the case.

A neighbor and family friend of the Petras family said they just want to put everything behind them.

Tuesdays used to have a different meaning for Ted Withey and his best friend Paul Petras.

"We did whats called a two-man pub crawl. That's why I wear the button on Tuesdays," Whitey said.

But on this Tuesday he's in disbelief because the man convicted of killing his best friend is bringing up what he's been trying to forget.

"I mean he was caught with the goods. Whether there's a jurist or two that might of thought he was guilty anyway, he was still caught with all the goods," Whitey said.

"The defense attorney is asking the judge to say that the jurors that were picked, at least some of them, were biased and he should have a new trial," La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke said.

In the motion, Lepsch and his attorney said in a pre-trial questionnaire three jurors answered that they had "made up their minds" in the case, but said they could remove those feelings if selected as a juror.

Lepsch's attorney argues: "it is unreasonable to think that the average person can simply disregard or eliminate the information that has already been provided by his or her emotional and intellectual sensibilities as well as the conclusion such sensibilities have already rendered."

"We'll respond to the motion that they filed by explaining that we think the jurors were not biased, that the trial was done properly, that the defense attorneys were not ineffective. That's going to be our position," Gruenke said.

Withey said he hopes the judge will make the right decision and not grant a new trial, but if there is, "If he succeeds in getting a retrial then they outta put a condition on the re-trial, if you're found guilty again the second go around, you will face the death penalty. Period. That's the way a lot of us feel."

Withey said the Petras family is just trying to move on from it all. News 8 contacted the defense attorney, but have yet to hear back.

Gruenke has until Aug. 15 to file his brief in this case.

Then La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge Romona Gonzalez will make a ruling.

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