Teenager who killed his grandparents in 2019 will serve at least 40 years in prison

Teenager who killed his grandparents in 2019 will serve at least 40 years in prison

APPLETON - A Neenah teenager who shot and killed his grandparents at their home in Grand Chute in 2019 will serve at least 40 years of a life sentence.

Alexander M. Kraus, now 20, showed little emotion in court Friday as Outagamie County Judge Mitchell Metropulos sentenced him to life in prison and ordered that he serve at least 40 years, minus the 3½ years he's already been in custody, before he can petition for supervised release.

"Obviously, the severity of the offense is significant," Metropulos said, "as horrible of a crime as we have. Mr. Kraus killed his grandparents, and he killed both, one right after the other, and it was without mercy, and it was with intent, and it was well planned out."

Kraus previously pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of Dennis Kraus, 74, and Letha Kraus, 73.

"I loved my grandparents," Kraus told the court before sentencing. "I'm so sorry."

The mandatory penalty for first-degree intentional homicide in Wisconsin is life in prison, but Metropulos was empowered to decide when Kraus would be eligible for supervised release.

He set that at 20 years for each count and that the periods run consecutively for a total of 40 years.

Outagamie County District Attorney Melinda Tempelis recommended that Kraus be sentenced to life in prison without release. She said the killing of his grandparents was part of Kraus' larger plan — developed over 18 months — to carry out mass murder at Neenah High School. Kraus was a junior at the school.

"I do not believe the community is or will be safe with the defendant in it," Tempelis told the court. "I also believe significant punishment for the horrific murder of two wonderful people in our community is not only appropriate but is expected."

"In light of this investigation," Tempelis continued, "I believe the murders of Dennis and Letha Kraus saved the lives of countless students at Neenah High School."

Gregory Petit, an attorney for Kraus, requested eligibility for supervised release after 20 years, which is the minimum under law. He said Kraus' plan for a mass shooting at Neenah High School "was so delusional, there was no way that would have happened."

"This wasn't a case of an evil person," Petit said. "It was a kid with mental health issues that did something horrible."

During a June 2021 trial, Kraus tried to convince a jury that a mental illness kept him from being able to understand what he did was wrong, but he wasn't successful.

Kraus had been awaiting sentencing ever since because, two months after the trial, Metropulos determined Kraus wasn't competent to proceed to sentencing and ordered him to get treatment until his competency was restored.

After three separate evaluations, Metropulos ruled in June that Kraus was competent to proceed.

Kraus was 17 when he called 911 shortly after 11:30 a.m. April 14, 2019, telling an emergency dispatcher "he had just killed his grandparents and needed to be arrested by the police," according to a criminal complaint filed two days later in Outagamie County.

That same day, police found the bodies of Dennis and Letha Kraus at their home on Edgewood Drive in Grand Chute. A police officer who searched the victims' home found a backpack with a folder inside that contained Kraus' typed plan for killing his grandparents.
Teenager who killed his grandparents in 2019 will serve at least 40 years in prison
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