Graap now charged with first degree murder in the January death of Kayla Frank
TINA L. SCOTT
As of June 6, 2022, Tanner H. Graap, now age 28, of Merrill, the man arrested and charged in connection with the Jan. 18, 2022, shooting death of Kayla M. Frank, is now charged with first degree intentional homicide for her death. New charges filed by the Lincoln County District Attorney on that date state that Graap “did cause the death of Kayla M. Frank, with intent to kill.”
Five new and much more serious charges now replace the former charges of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon that were filed against Graap in January.
Graap is now charged with: 1) First degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, with two modifiers as a repeater; 2) First degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, with two modifiers as a repeater; 3) Possess firearm-convicted of a felony, with two modifiers as a repeater; 4) Second degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon, with two modifiers as a repeater; and 5) A second charge of second degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon, with two modifiers as a repeater. The two recklessly endangering safety charges relate to the two witnesses who were also in the home on E. Fifth St. at the time of the shooting.
If convicted of first degree intentional homicide, Graap faces life in prison, and if convicted of first degree reckless homicide, he faces up to 60 years in prison. With the addition of all of the other charges and the repeater modifications, if convicted, Graap would be prohibited from being placed on probation and would face many additional years in prison to be tacked onto any initial sentence, along with periods of extended supervision to be applied should Graap ever be released from prison. He also faces financial penalties of up to $50,000 if convicted of counts four and five.
A preliminary hearing was held on June 6 during which the Court ruled that there was probable cause to bind the Graap over for trial on the new charges. Attorney Preston Smead of Madison is now representing Graap. As of May 16, 2022, Graap was incarcerated in the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun. He is still being held on the original $25,000 cash bond set by the Court on Jan. 18, 2022.
In the Affidavit of Search Warrant filed with the Court, firsthand witness accounts now suggest that Graap “raised the gun and pointed it into the kitchen and pulled the trigger,” which contradicts Graap’s statement that he was running toward the kitchen of the home while attempting to put the gun into his left inside chest coat pocket when he “ran into the door frame between an empty room and the kitchen and the handgun came forward with his finger on the trigger and went off.” Graap had admitted to using heroin the morning before the shooting in an interview with law enforcement.
A Status Conference on the charges brought on June 6 has been set for 2:00 p.m. on June 16, 2022, in Lincoln County Court.