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Thad Alton /Topeka Capital Journal
Handcuffed and without emotion, James Kraig Kahler is escorted from the Osage County Courthouse Monday afternoon after receiving a recommendation of the death penalty, following his conviction for capital murder Aug. 25.

Wayne White | Managing Editor

LYNDON—After deliberating for 55 minutes Monday, Osage County jurors unanimously recommended the death penalty for James Kraig Kahler. The sentence recommendation followed the jury’s verdict last Thursday that Kahler was guilty of capital murder.

The jury convicted Kahler, 48, of killing his wife, Karen Kahler, 44, his daughters, Emily, 18, and Lauren, 16; and Karen’s grandmother, Dorothy Wight, 89, in Wight’s Burlingame home on Nov. 28, 2009.

Kahler was charged with capital murder, four counts of first-degree murder, and one count of aggravated burglary.

Following Monday’s death penalty verdict, members of Karen Kahler’s family gathered on the east steps of the Osage County Courthouse to make a statement to the press.

Lynn Denton, Karen Kahler’s sister, spoke for the group that included her brother Bill Hetrick, his wife Donna, and Carmen Esch, introduced as Hetrick’s and Denton’s cousin and Dorothy Wight’s granddaughter.

“For the past year and a half, we had a dark cloud around us that we associated with this trial,” Denton said. “Now that it’s over, the cloud is still there. The cloud wasn’t about the trial, it’s about our loss. The verdict and sentence doesn’t bring our family back. The Kahlers, Wights, Dentons and Hetricks still have a lot of healing to do.”

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