No motive disclosed in Wisconsin slayings
APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — A 17-year-old typed out pages on how he planned to fatally shoot his grandparents and law enforcement found those notes with a book on an executioner in the teen’s backpack after he called 911 and confessed to the killings, prosecutors in Wisconsin said Tuesday.
Alexander M. Kraus was charged Tuesday in Outagamie County Circuit Court in Appleton, Wisconsin, with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of 74-year-old Dennis Kraus and 73-year-old Letha Kraus. Each charge carries a life sentence.
Outagamie County Court Commissioner Brian Figy ordered Kraus held on a $2 million cash bond. Greg Petit, Kraus’ attorney, declined to comment Tuesday, telling The Associated Press after the hearing he “doesn’t know enough” yet about the case.
Police found the bodies Sunday at their home in Grand Chute, a small city about 110 miles (180 kilometers) northwest of Milwaukee, after a male called the police and said he needed to be arrested in the deaths, according to a criminal complaint.
An autopsy found that Dennis Kraus was shot once in the head and Letha Kraus suffered two gunshot wounds to the head and one to the right forearm.
There were “several pages” in a red folder outlining how Kraus would kill his grandparents, investigators said in the complaint, which provided no motive for the shootings. The complaint mentioned a book found in Kraus’ camouflage backpack about an executioner, but provided no details.
Police have said Kraus also told investigators he was planning to cause unspecified harm at Neenah High School, where he was a junior. No details of the nature of that plot have been revealed and it was not mentioned in the complaint released Tuesday. The school district said police determined there is no danger to students or faculty.
Messages left at a number listed for Kraus’ home address in Neenah were not immediately returned Tuesday.
Kraus told detectives he shot his grandfather in the head first then “tried to shoot his grandmother in the head,” according to the complaint. Police said Letha Kraus’ body was found lying on top of Dennis Kraus’ body in the kitchen of the home.
Officers found a shotgun with a knife taped to the end of the barrel and a knife sheath on the bed of a downstairs bedroom. A search of an upstairs bedroom uncovered a shotgun on the bed with two gun cases and ammunition, a “large amount of various ammunition” on the floor, and several more guns in a gun cabinet, the complaint said.
Kraus told police he stayed at his grandparents’ home the night before the killing.
Wisconsin is one of six states that treat 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has included provisions in his state budget that would move 17-year-olds back into juvenile court.