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Justin Lenz Pleaded Guilty to 2nd Degree Murder of Melanie Koontz

Meghan Matthews

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Justin Lenz Pleaded Guilty to 2nd Degree Murder of Melanie Koontz

CREATED Aug. 6, 2013

Omaha, NE - Even though it's been one year since 16 year old Melanie Koontz's body was found in Cole Creek, her family tells Action 3 News they still don't have their baby girl and it is still just as painful to talk about.

In court Tuesday morning Koontz's killer, 17 year old Justin Lenz pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder.

Melanie's parents Andrew and Michelle Koontz were in court to watch Lenz make his plea. Michelle Koontz tells Action 3 News the hardest part about Tuesday, was seeing Lenz with a stone cold face no emotions.

A friend found Melanie's body in Cole Creek River near 78th and Blondo last May. Investigators testified last year, Lenz told a friend he had sex with Koontz before strangling her with his belt.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Tuesday's plea came last minute.
"It's something that came up over the weekend. His lawyer has contacted us, said that was a possibility he would be offering a plea. We met with the police about it we met with the victim's family, and after our discussions thought it would be an appropriate resolution to the case."
Lenz will go before a judge November 6th for his sentencing. He faces 20 to life in prison.