James Kraig Kahler, accused of shooting his wife, two daughters,
and his wife’s grandmother at Burlingame last year, is escorted
out of the Osage County Courthouse by jail sergeant Jerry Nitcher
after an Oct. 6 hearing.
Wayne White | Managing Editor
LYNDON—Following a hearing in Osage County District Court
last week, a man accused of killing his wife, two daughters, and
his wife’s grandmother, showed an interest in a deputy’s
gun. During the Oct. 6 motion hearing, Osage County Magistrate Judge
Stephen Jones agreed to a defense motion to again postpone a preliminary
hearing for James Kraig Kahler.
Kahler, 46, is charged with capital murder for the deaths of his
wife Karen Kahler, the Kahlers’ teenage daughters, Emily and
Lauren, and Karen Kahler’s grandmother, Dorothy Wight. All
were shot in Wight’s Burlingame home Nov. 28. Karen, Emily
and Lauren died from their injuries that night and Wight died three
At last week’s hearing, defense attorney Thomas Haney told
the court the defendant’s co-counsel, Brandi Studer, had resigned
from the law firm of Henson, Hutton, Mudrick, Gragson, LLP, effective
Haney said Studer had withdrawn from the case and different co-counsel
would be needed. Haney said another attorney with his firm was “immersed
in this case,” but had not met the
defendant and needed more time to become familiar with the case.
Assistant attorney general Barry Disney said the state was prepared
for the preliminary hearing that had previously been rescheduled
to Oct. 25-26, but understood that Haney “was in a bind.”
After discussion of possible dates for a preliminary hearing, all
parties agreed to postpone the hearing to Dec. 21-22. The preliminary
hearing had been postponed twice before. Kahler was charged with
capital murder Nov. 30 after being apprehended following an all-night
manhunt near Burlingame.
Prior to last week’s hearing, Kahler sat in the jury box in
the courtroom without restraints, dressed in a suit and tie, and
was guarded by Osage County Jail Sergeant Jerry Nitcher. Kahler
conversed with Nitcher, and several times showed papers he was holding
to the sergeant.
As in past hearings held in the case, the courthouse was heavily
guarded with two or three deputies on each floor, and two deputies
in the courtroom along with Nitcher.
As Kahler was escorted out of the courthouse door after the hearing,
he smiled at photographers and then asked a nearby deputy about
the automatic weapon he carried.
“What caliber of gun is that?” Kahler said.
The deputy did not respond to Kahler’s question, and fell
in behind the escorting officers as they continued to the jail.
Also during the hearing, the court considered a motion to quash
a defense subpoena for records related to marriage counseling undergone
by Karen Kahler in Boone County, Mo. With Disney’s agreement,
Jones agreed the motion should be dismissed. The court is to review
the records when they are obtained to determine their relevance
to the defense.