Kahler's murder trial set to start Monday

James Kahler

Update: Monday, August 8 at 5:45 p.m.:

A motion to move the capital murder trial of a former Columbia city official failed.

On Monday a judge denied James Kahler TMs request for a change of venue. Defense attorneys wanted the trial moved because of what they called overwhelming prejudice revealed in juror questionnaires in Osage County, Kansas. That TMs where Kahler, 48, is charged with killing his daughters, ex-wife, and her grandmother.

The defendant has the right to a fair trial, and while we're at it, so does the state, said Prosecutor Amy Hanley. Kahler TMs lawyers may have reason to worry. Jury selection began Monday and only six of the 15 potential jurors made it through the day. Eight of them said they couldn TMt put aside their pre-determined opinions for the trial.

There is going to be nothing about this case that's going to be pleasant for anyone, Defense Attorney Tom Haney said on Monday.

Attorneys will continue interviewing prospective jurors Tuesday. They have about 260 people to choose from.

Attorneys hope to wrap up jury selection by Friday. Opening statements are scheduled for next Monday.

Kahler is charged with killing his family at his ex-wife TMs grandmother TMs home in Burlingame, Kansas. The incident happened Thanksgiving weekend 2009.

The couple TMs 11-year-old son was in the home at the time. He testified in a preliminary hearing last year that he was cleaning coins with his mother when his father came into the home and shot his mother with a deer rifle.

Kahler used to be Columbia Water and Light Director. He resigned from the position several weeks before the killings.

Original Story:

The murder trial for a former Columbia city official starts Monday.

Former Columbia Water and Light Director, James Kraig Kahler faces four counts of capital murder.

He's accused of killing his ex-wife, Karen, their two teenage daughters, Emily and Lauren, and his ex-wife's grandmother, Dorothy Wight.

The killings happened thanksgiving weekend in November 2009 in wight's home in Burlingame, Kansas.

Just last week an Osage County District Court judge decided Kahler will be able to present evidence of a relationship between his wife and another woman.

Lawyers for Kahler are expected to argue their client suffered a mental breakdown as a result of that relationship.

During his preliminary hearing in December last year, Kahler's 11-year-old son testified that he was sitting with his mother at his grandmother's home when his dad killed her with a rifle.

Kahler has pleaded not guilty.