James Kraig Kahler, sentenced to death for killing four members
of his family, is escorted from the Osage County Courthouse
following Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.
Wayne White | Managing Editor
LYNDON—Almost two years after killing his wife, two
daughters and his wife’s grandmother, James Kraig Kahler
has been sentenced to death by an Osage County judge.
Tuesday morning, Osage County Chief Judge Phillip Fromme affirmed
a jury’s Aug. 29 verdict of the death sentence.
Following a two-week trial in August, 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. In addition to capital murder, Kahler was convicted
of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated
During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Fromme said it
was his duty to determine whether the jury’s recommended
death sentence was supported by the evidence presented.
Amy Hanley, assistant attorney general, listed evidence supporting
the aggravating circumstances that resulted in the sentence.
Hanley noted Kahler’s son, Sean, had witnessed his father
shoot his mother after Kahler had burst into Wight’s
home; the victims had the knowledge they were going to be
shot as shown by a Life Alert recording of the shootings;
and Lauren Kahler had been chased up a flight of stairs by
her father before being mortally wounded.
“[The victims] would have been able to see and hear
what was going on around them as they were dying,” Hanley
One of Kahler’s attorneys, Thomas Haney, noted no Kansas
judge has overruled a jury verdict of the death penalty since
Kansas had reinstated it as a possible punishment. Haney urged
Fromme to consider overruling the verdict due to the Kansas
capital murder law, which defines aggravators as committing
a murder that is heinous, atrocious or cruel; and as killing
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