Lee A. Franck, 57, of Niagra. Felony charges filed May 22 include first degree intentional homicide.

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — New trial dates have been set for the the 59-year-old suspect in a February 2018 Wausau homicide, more than two years after the slaying.

Lee Franck, 59, is accused of killing 77-year-old Lyle Leith, of Wausau, on Feb. 19, 2018 in the garage of leith’s Kickbusch Street home. He faces charges of first degree intentional homicide.

Leith’s body was discovered hours later by Leith’s daughter, who was dating Franck and had been living with him in Florence County at the time Mr. Leith was killed.Investigators say Leith died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, likely caused by a tire iron or crowbar.

In October 2019, Franck entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, Wisconsin’s version of the insanity plea. Franck has also struggled to keep defense counsel, with two prominent defense attorneys stepping away from the case.

Most recently in May, defense attorney Peter Prusinski withdrew as counsel, citing a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship, according to court records. Franck is now represented by his third attorney, Peter Rotter.

During a scheduling conference earlier this month Circuit Judge Greg Strasser ordered defense counsel to submit motions by Nov. 15 with responses by Jan. 8. A motions hearing is set for Jan. 29 with a jury trial now on the calendar for Aug. 30.

If Franck is found competent to stand trial and he is convicted of the homicide charge, he faces life in prison. His trial is expected to take up to three weeks.