Jury to decide if teen who killed grandparents mentally ill

APPLETON — A Wisconsin teenager has pleaded guilty to fatally shooting his grandparents, but his lawyers will argue at a trial that he shouldn’t be held criminally responsible because he was mentally ill.

Alexander Kraus, 18, of Neenah, is charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting of Dennis and Letha Kraus on April 14, 2019, at their Grand Chute home. Kraus has admitted that he killed his grandparents but the criminal complaint doesn't list a motive.

Kraus appeared in court by video Monday from the Outagamie County Jail, WLUK-TV reported.

The case will continue despite his guilty pleas. In a second phase of the proceedings against Kraus, his defense attorneys hope to prove he was suffering from a mental illness and didn’t realize what he did was wrong. A jury will decide if this was the case. His defense attorneys last year entered pleas to both charges of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

If a jury determines he was mentally ill at the time of the shootings, Kraus could be committed to a psychiatric facility. Otherwise, he would face two life prison terms.

Trial has been scheduled for the week of Nov. 16.