Engen Murder Trial Set for October
By Brandi Makuski
A jury trial for the only suspect in the shooting death of a former UWSP student is scheduled to begin in October.
Kyle Engen, of Marshall, Wis., has been behind bars since U.S. Marshals caught up with him in Granby, Colo. in April last year. Engen had been on the run for about a month after allegedly shooting two people during a drug deal gone bad on the corner of Minnesota and Fifth avenues on St. Patrick’s Day.
During that attempted drug deal, Engen allegedly fired several shots at Deonta Lezine and two other men as they sped away in a Ford Taurus. According to the criminal complaint, the three had prearranged to purchase two pounds of marijuana from Engen for $7,000 but instead attempted to steal the drugs.
Lezine, 21, suffered a gunshot wound to the head and died nine days later at a trauma center in Wausau. The other man, who was Lezine’s roommate at the time, was grazed by a bullet and fled the scene, but later contacted police and cooperated with law enforcement to piece together the series of events on March 17, 2016.
Engen has been charged with three counts of second-degree intentional homicide and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Engen remains behind bars on a $100,000 cash bond. He faces up to 140 years behind bars if convicted.
Timeline of Events
Mar. 17, 2016
7:48 PM: A caller dials 911 to report possible gunshots on the 200 block of Minnesota Ave.
8:57 PM: A City Times reader calls the newsroom asking for details on something happening at Berg Gym.
9:50 PM: A City Times reporter is the only media to arrive at Minnesota and Fifth. The reporter observed police blockades on Minnesota Ave. between Fifth Ave. and Maria Dr.; officers are seen searching the exterior of an apartment complex with flashlights, with at least one officer returning to his squad carrying a brown paper bag
10:28 PM: Police Chief Marty Skibba emails a news release notifying media of a “substantial injury” after “reports of possible gunshots” on the 200 block of Minnesota; police confirmed the incident actually occurred on the 2700 block of Fifth Ave. and the victim, identified only as a 21-year-old man, was found at Berg Gym on the UW-Stevens Point campus.
10:30 PM (approx.): Students at UWSP are notified in a mass email of the incident, confirming the incident was a shooting and UWSP Protective Services were assisting police.
10:40 PM (approx): Police Chief Marty Skibba holds an impromptu press conference in the basement of the courthouse, reading from his prepared press release. No further information was released at that time.
10 AM: A second news release from Skibba confirming the incident was indeed a shooting and likely drug-related, also assuring citizens the public was not in danger and the incident was isolated. No further information on the victims or shooter were released.
1:00 PM: A press conference is held on the UWSP campus by Chancellor Bernie Patterson. Asst. Chief Tony Babl attends and released the name of the gunshot victim, Deonta Lezine, 21. Patterson said Lezine was not currently enrolled as a student.
3:00 PM: Babl sends a press release to the media naming Lezine as the victim, again also stating the shooting was an isolated incident and saying no arrests had been made at that time.
11:48 AM: Marshfield Police Dept. releases the suspect’s name and photo on its Facebook page without clearance from Stevens Point investigators. The suspect was identified as 30-year-old Kyle Engen of Dane County. The Facebook post included cell phone numbers for two of the city’s detectives.
1:56 PM: Babl issues a news release formally identifying Engen as a suspect, asking for the public’s help in locating him.
Mar. 19 (time unknown) Stevens Point investigators, working with law enforcement in Dane Co., execute a search warrant at a residence in Marshall, Wis., where Engen was thought to be. He was not onthe property at the time of the search.
12:38 PM: Police announce a second shooting victim has come forward. The victim, whose wounds were characterized as “superficial”, had fled the city following the shooting on Mar. 17, seeking medical treatment in Racine. The man, identified only as a 20-year-old, returned to Stevens Point Sunday night and contacted police to make a statement.
11:38 AM: Babl sends out a press release before the Easter weekend holiday with few updates. Police have received fewer tips from the public than expected, Babl said. While Lezine is still listed in critical condition at an undisclosed hospital, Babl said police “have had regular contact” with Portage Co. Coroner Scott Rifleman.
9:26 AM: Assistant Police Chief Tony Babl releases a statement from the SPPD confirming Lezine died at 8:45 PM on Mar. 25 but release no further details. The cause of death was later determined to be respiratory depression due to cerebral trauma, caused by the gunshot.
April 22, 2016
8:15 AM: Stevens Point police make first public statement in nearly a month on Lezine case in a press release announcing shooting suspect Kyle Engen has been taken into custody while sitting in a car in Granby, Colo. After being extradited back to Wisconsin, he faced a judge in Dane Co. for charges pending there.
Sept. 29, 2016
Engen appears for his arraignment in Portage Co. Circuit Court on three counts of second-degree intentional homicide and felonious possession of a firearm. His bond is set at $100,000 cash.