« Back to blog

Suspect named in the Lentz Family Murders


A reader in Wisconsin sent me the following information from a press conference given by police in Janesville, WI, about the murders of Danyetta Lentz, age 38, and her children Nicole, age 17, and Scott, 14. Thanks to Shelly T. for the following:

Suspect arrested after high speed chase. Search warrant was executed. Suspect is James C. Koepp who resides on lot 39. 1/29/59 birthdate, male white.

He is on the WI sex offender registry, 2nd degree sexual assault. He has other traffic violations…

That’s right. Another damned registered sex offender in the neighborhood, and a mother and two children murdered by “complex homicidal violence.”

Koepp’s registry record with the State of Wisconsin says he lived on lot 69, not 39, but otherwise, all the info dovetails with what Shelly gleaned from the press conference about this break in the case.

Koepp’s conviction was in 1984. He was required to register for life, but his supervision (probation presumably) had terminated.

Koepp filed an appeal with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in 1997. The decision in that case was published online: No. 96-3561-CR, State of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. James C. Koepp, Defendant-Appellant.

The following quotes are from that document, I’ve added emphasis here and there:

In 1984, Koepp was convicted on four counts of second-degree sexual assault. He was sentenced to concurrent five- and ten-year prison terms on two counts and was given concurrent ten-year terms of probation on the remaining counts, to be served consecutive to the prison terms. He was released from prison in 1993 and began serving probation. In September 1995, the Department of Corrections revoked Koepp’s probation. Koepp waived his probation revocation hearing and on December 8, 1995, the trial court sentenced him to concurrent six-year prison terms. On September 9, 1996, Koepp filed a pro se motion for sentence reduction or resentencing. The trial court denied this motion. Koepp appeals.

First, Koepp argues that his mental health problems (e.g., his depression, alcohol abuse and suicide attempts) led to the aberrant behavior that resulted in probation revocation. Because the Department of Corrections and the trial court did not consider these problems, Koepp argues that he was improperly denied alternatives to revocation.


Koepp contends that his serious mental problems caused the aberrant behavior that resulted in his probation revocation. Had his attorney investigated and explained this to the trial court at sentencing, Koepp argues that alternatives to revocation or a reduced sentence may have resulted. Therefore, Koepp argues that these mental problems are a “new factor” that warrant sentence modification. We disagree.

The sentencing record shows that counsel did bring to the court’s attention Koepp’s problems with attempted suicide, depression and alcohol. The court acknowledged that in spite of Koepp’s rehabilitation efforts, these same problems were present when probation was originally imposed and had now resurfaced. Accordingly, probation was revoked and Koepp was sentenced because these same problems occurred again. There was nothing new about these facts, even if counsel had failed to bring them to the court’s attention. Because Koepp’s mental problems were not a “new factor,” the trial court appropriately denied his motion for sentence reduction…

In short, Koepp blamed his previous crimes on alcohol and depression.

Whatever those crimes were, specifically, they were not triple murder.

If the charges against him are true, what will Mr. Koepp’s excuse be now?

My previous blog entries about the Lentz family: