Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trial of Karen Kahler & Children: Intimate Partner Homicide meets Absurd Defense

The trials of intimate partner homicides, silenced by those whom at one time professed to love the spouse or partner during the relationship, have turned courtrooms across the county into theater of the absurd.

Defense tactics are now being argued in a court of law that teeter more on "hearsay" than fact. Add to this mix the past history of abuse, often not admissible during trial, and you have a recipe for disaster. The courts allow for a defendant's mental state at the time of the killing, but the pattern of conduct leading up to the murder has little or no significance.

As a tragic example is the current murder trial of Kraig Kahler. His defense, and the headline after the second day of trial is, "Kansas Murder Suspect Blamed Divorce on Wife's Lover." This is where the absurd enters the picture in this case. There are four people who lost their lives on November 28, 2009. They are:

Karen Kahler (estranged wife)
Emily Kahler ( 18 year old daughter)
Lauren Kahler (16 year old daughter)
Dorothy Wight (grandmother)

A son, Sean, 10 years old at the time, survived by fleeing to safety down the road to a neighbors home.

The blame game should not be a defense for a man who carefully planned out the murders of his family. Karen and the kids go to grandma's for Thanksgiving weekend, he follows their every move, just as he had been doing for months prior to the day of the murders.

Prior to the shooting he stalked Karen. Kraig Kahler lost his job the Director of Columbia Water & Light because of his criminal acts of stalking and violence, the couple was in the middle of a divorce.

The defense is claiming that their client had a mental breakdown because Karen was in a relationship with another woman.

  •  Forget the fact that Kahler had been violent towards Karen for years. 
  •  Forget the fact that she filed for divorce to get away from the violence. 
  •  Forget the fact that Kahler is a psychopath.

 His behavior and actions are that of a very sound and stable individual who conveniently, according to the defense, has had a mental breakdown. That sounds like hearsay to me. Isn't the trial about the murders?

  • Didn't Kahler get in the car and follow his family? 
  • Did he stop and pay for gas on his road trip? 
  •  Did he load the weapons prior to the murders? 
  • Did he go into hiding after he shot his family before he was arrested? 

 Those sound and appear to be very thoughtful steps of an angry abusive, controlling, killer!

Karen Kahler is not here. As a matter of fact, she begged for her life before he pumped more bullets into the mother of his three children.

Kraig Kahler's actions on November 28, 2009 were not hearsay, but premeditated . The life and or lifestyle choice of Karen Kahler should not be on trial.

The actions of a very sane man taking the coward's way out speaks volumes of a psychopath using the system to his advantage.

For victims of intimate partner violence that leads to homicide, this is a tragic view from inside the theater of the absurd!

Susan Murphy Milano is a staff member of the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education. She is a specialist with intimate partner violence prevention strategies and high risk cases and available for personal consultations through the Institute. She is also part of the team at Management Resources Limited of New York.

Susan is the author of "Time's Up: A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships,"Moving out, Moving on, and Defending Out Lives. Susan is the host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show, "Time'sUp!" . She is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated "The Roth Show" with Dr Laurie Roth and a co-host on Crime Wire.
If you would like to schedule Susan Murphy Milano for interviews, please contact: ImaginePublicity PO BOX 14946 Surfside Beach, SC 29587 Phone: 843.808.0859 email-

1 comment:

Shay said...

I am just reading this. Karen was my trainer and friend, and I was watching her house and taking care of her 3 cats here in Columbia when they were murdered. I was waiting for a call from Karen on Sunday when instead I received a call informing me of the murders. Kraig is indeed a psychopath that purposefully made her life hell in the months before the murder, and he did intentionally with plenty of premeditation, shoot his babies, the mother of his babies, and their grandmother. Thank you for writing this.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...