An hour before his sentencing hearing in Delta District Court, Billy Kissner was found lying in his driveway, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A citizen who noticed Kissner lying in his driveway at 755 E. Main Street, Cedaredge, called 911 at about 1:30 the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 11.
Cedaredge Police officers and Delta County Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene, where they found Kissner unconscious but still alive. He was transported to Delta County Memorial Hospital, then airlifted to St. Mary's where he died Saturday morning.
There will be no autopsy, Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee reported.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at New Hope Evangelical Free Church.
Kissner was 49. He was facing a prison sentence of two to six years for the death of his wife, Raelynn, in November 2010. She was found face down in the hot tub in the couple's home.
It took a year and a half for prosecutors to accumulate enough evidence to charge Kissner with second degree murder as an act of domestic violence. He was arrested May 4, 2012. Two weeks later he posted $100,000 bond and enlisted the services of Denver attorney Harvey Steinberg.
A plea agreement appeared imminent in October 2012. Then, without explanation, the agreement was pulled off the table and a trial was set for July 2013. Questionnaires were in the mail to potential jurors when Steinberg requested the trial be vacated, saying a deal was in the works. The plea agreement was formalized on Aug. 7, when Kissner entered a plea of guilty to manslaughter.
At that time, Kissner was advised the class four felony carries a presumptive sentencing range of two to six years. There was also the possibility of no prison time, if extraordinary mitigating circumstances were found to exist. Aggravating circumstances could have bumped the sentence up to 12 years.
Two forensic examiners employed by the district attorney's office were never able to identify the cause of Raelynn's death, nor to conclude whether the cause of death was accidental or a homicide. But in written confessions to his siblings, Billy Kissner admitted he hit Raelynn and threw her in the hot tub during an argument.blog comments powered by Disqus