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No contest plea made in blunt force trauma death in Wausau

March 29, 2022 GMT

A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s father in Wausau in 2018 has pleaded no contest to first-degree intentional homicide.

In exchange for Monday’s plea, two disorderly conduct charges against Lee Franck were to be dismissed and read during sentencing in Marathon County Circuit Court.

Prosecutors say the 60-year-old Franck got in an argument with Lyle Leith days before his death. Court documents say the 77-year-old victim tried to intervene in a fight between Franck and his daughter.

Investigators say Leith’s body was found in his garage in Wausau on Feb. 20, 2018. Officials say his death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head. Police say they found a metal pipe burned in a fire pit on Franck’s property.

Leith’s daughter told police she last saw her father alive on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m., when he left her home. She told officers that her father always came to her house at 8 a.m. and stayed until 7:30 p.m. to help her care for a sick relative, WSAW-TV reported.

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Leith’s daughter first became concerned about her father’s safety after he didn’t show up at her home the morning of Feb. 20. That’s when she went to his home and found his body.

When police showed up at Franck’s home to arrest him, he refused to come out of the house. It was only after hours of negotiations, gas and non-lethal rounds of ammunition that Franck finally gave up.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 8.