Kraig Kahler in Osage County District Court on Nov. 30.
Wayne White | Managing Editor
LYNDON—A preliminary hearing for James Kraig Kahler, charged
with capital murder for the shooting deaths of his wife, two
teenage daughters, and his wife’s grandmother, has been
rescheduled to May 19 and 20.
According to court documents, the preliminary hearing was postponed
from March 18, due to a change in Kahler’s attorneys.
In January, Osage County District Court Judge Phillip Fromme
rejected Kahler’s application for appointed defense services,
released the Topeka-based death penalty defense unit from the
case, and advised Kahler to hire an attorney.
Thomas Haney and Brandi Studer, both attorneys of the firm Henson,
Hutton, Mudrick and Gragson, in Topeka, entered their appearance
as Kahler’s attorneys of record last month.
The attorneys filed a request for a continuance of the preliminary
hearing, citing insufficient time to prepare and provide effective
assistance, and noted a preliminary investigation had not been
completed at that time.
A motion hearing has been scheduled for April 14.
Kahler is charged with capital murder for the deaths of Dorothy
Wight, Karen Kahler, and the Kahler’s daughters, Emily,
18, and Lauren, 16, all shot in Wight’s Burlingame home
Nov. 28. Karen, Emily and Lauren died from their injuries that
evening, and Wight died three days later.
James Kahler, 46, was arrested the morning of Nov. 29 following
a 12-hour manhunt in the area of Auburn Road near the Osage
and Shawnee county line.
If Kahler is convicted of the capital murder charge, punishment
could be the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
A spokesperson for the Kansas Attorney General’s Office
said it would be the attorney general’s decision whether
the state would seek the death penalty in the case. If the death
penalty is sought, the state is required to file notice after
the defendant enters a plea, which would happen after the preliminary