STEVENS POINT — The trial for a man accused of killing a Horlick High School graduate is under way in Stevens Point.
Kyle Engen, 32, of Dane County, is accused of fatally shooting Deonta Lezine on March 17, 2016 in what police say was a drug deal gone wrong. Engen pleaded guilty Sept. 21 to a count of second-degree intentional homicide as part of a plea deal that would dismiss the remaining three charges in the case. Days later, he withdrew the plea, online court records show.
The trial started Monday in Portage County Circuit Court. A jury was selected, and attorneys from both sides of the case made opening arguments, according to the Stevens Point Journal.
The Portage County District Attorney’s Office alleges Engen shot and killed Lezine after the 21-year-old Horlick graduate and two other men tried to steal marijuana from him, the Stevens Point newspaper reports.
Engen’s attorney plans to argue he was defending himself, the article states.
Stevens Point Police stated at the time that Lezine was shot in the 2700 block of Fifth Avenue, but that he was found on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus, where a witness called 911.
Police also identified a 20-year-old man who was shot in the incident but was not critically injured. He sought medical attention on his own in the Racine area, police stated.
Athletic achievements remembered
Lezine played football and was a member of the cheer and stunt team while he was a student at Horlick, according to previous Journal Times reports. He also boxed for the Racine Boxing Club and tossed the discus and shot put on the track team.
Lezine went to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to play football after he graduated high school in 2013, but he was not a UWSP student at the time of his death, police have said.
He died March 25, 2016, eight days after being shot. Friends and family shared memories of him on social media after authorities confirmed his passing.
He faces four charges in the case and is represented by attorneys Corey Chirafisi and David Kennedy Anderson, according to online court records.