Bond denied for West Virginia man accused of killing wife

Published: Oct. 22, 2019 at 11:33 AM EDT
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A judge has denied bond for a West Virginia man charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife.

News outlets report bond was denied Monday for 40-year-old James Michael Kiser, who authorities say has confessed to killing Crystal Dawn Kiser. Kanawha County deputies say James Kiser last month led them to Crystal Kiser's body, which was buried in a shallow Kentucky grave.

Prosecutor Don Morris says Crystal Kiser wanted a divorce and was staying with her grandmother. He says surveillance video shows James Kiser repeatedly driving past the home on the day of the August slaying.

For years, Crystal Kiser filed domestic violence petitions against James Kiser. A 1998 domestic violence conviction barred him from owning a gun, but authorities say he later lied when buying one.

“Given the seriousness to the nature of these charges and the proximity of the children," Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom said in court Monday. “The children’s interest is foremost to because they are potential witnesses. I think that continued incarceration pending trial is appropriate.”

Kiser’s two children, both teenagers, currently live with his mother, Betty Kiser. She took the stand during the bond hearing and said that she would welcome Kiser to her home if he was released on bond.

Betty Kiser was one of over a dozen family members on hand, supporting bond for James Kiser. Dwayne Harrison, the second cousin of James Kiser and a former employer, said he had a job for Kiser if he was released.

Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Don Morris asked Harrison if he still trusted Kiser even though Kiser lied to him between the time the victim was missing and the admission of killing. Harrison said yes.

“He lied to his own family. He has lied on an application on the purchase of a firearm,” Morris told the court. “He has a prior history of violence, not only with this victim but with another woman.”

James Kiser was convicted in 1998 of domestic battery in Fayetteville. Investigators say he lied about the conviction on an application to buy a gun.

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