Trial Begins For Man Accused of Killing 4 Family Members

By: Suzie Gilbert (WIBW), Josh Mabry (WIBW), John Hanna (AP) Email
By: Suzie Gilbert (WIBW), Josh Mabry (WIBW), John Hanna (AP) Email

LYNDON, Kan. (WIBW/AP) - Prosecutors began their case Monday in a capital murder trial against a former Missouri city official James Kraig Kahler accused of fatally shooting four family members in northeast Kansas.

Attorneys said Monday that the Thanksgiving weekend shooting was the Kahler family's first holiday apart. Karen Kahler had filed for divorce.

The defense said Monday morning that 48-year-old Kahler went crazy, saying he "lost everything he loved, became mentally overwhelmed and snapped," adding, "no one in their right mind would do this."

The state called the killings "intentional and premeditated."

The killings came less than three months after Kahler was asked to resign as water director in Columbia, Mo., because of issues related to his troubled marriage. One court filing said Kahler was upset over what the document described as a lesbian affair involving his wife.

According to the defense, the Kahler family was a perfect, "cleaver family" before the wife's lesbian affair began. According to his attorney, Kahler became obsessed with keeping his family together.

The victims were Kahler's wife, her grandmother, and the Kahlers' two daughters. The shootings occurred in November 2009 at the grandmother's home outside Burlingame, 20 miles south of Topeka.

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(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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