Allton/Topeka Capital Journal File Photo
White | Managing Editor
LYNDON—An Osage County District Court judge has denied
James Kraig Kahler’s request for the state to appoint
and pay for attorneys to conclude his capital murder case.
On Aug. 25, an Osage County jury convicted Kahler, 48, of
capital murder, four counts of first-degree murder and aggravated
burglary, for 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. Afterward, the same jury recommended the death penalty
for Kahler. Osage County Chief Judge Phillip Fromme set sentencing
for 10 a.m. Oct. 11.
In Kahler’s motion, filed the day after the jury delivered
the death sentence verdict, he petitioned the court to appoint
his defense team to represent him in all future court proceedings,
saying the trial and a trust fund established for his son,
Sean, 11, had exhausted all of his available assets. The motion
says all of Kraig Kahler’s available retirement income,
$2,200 per month, from his former job in Weatherford, Texas,
is assigned to Sean’s trust fund.
In court Monday at Lyndon, Kahler wore orange jail coveralls,
orange socks and slippers, in contrast to his appearance during
the trial in a business suit. His defense team, Thomas Haney
and Amanda Vogelsberg, appeared with him, with Haney saying
his law firm could no longer represent Kahler without being
paid. Haney said the defense team had already worked pro bono,
or provided legal services for free, for part of Kahler’s
“A firm our size just cannot assume that sort of responsibility,”
Haney said. “We have continued pro bono through about
half the trial. Mr. Kahler’s funds were exhausted as
it were, and we certainly didn’t want to abandon our
client, don’t want to abandon our client now.”
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