Serial killer Scott Kimball was sprung from prison after 8-minute hearing, according to newly unsealed documents
By John Aguilar Camera Staff Writer
Boulder Daily Camera
Posted:07/22/2010 08:06:40 PM MDT
It took only eight minutes and a judge's simple admonition against breaking the law to turn Scott Kimball from a federal prisoner into a free man -- free to contact his first victim within days of his release and launch a killing spree that wouldn't end for the next 20 months.
Details of a crucial 2002 bond hearing in which the Lafayette native was ordered released with no supervision came to light this week when a judge ruled that a transcript of the U.S. District Court proceeding be unsealed 7 1/2 years after it took place. The document was unsealed as a result of the Camera taking legal action.
The transcript, at only six pages long, may be more remarkable for its banal tone than for any new information it provides about what the government was hoping to gain from making Kimball an FBI informant. In fact, the judge never mentions the bureau or the reason for Kimball's release.
"So I'm going to order that you be released on the $10,000 unsecured bond without supervision or other conditions," U.S. Magistrate Boyd N. Boland said as Kimball stood in a federal courtroom in Denver on Dec. 18, 2002, without a lawyer. "The deputy will prepare that, and I'll have you review it, and, if it's acceptable, sign it."
The judge also said he would assign Kimball an attorney.
Kimball, who had been in federal prison for more than a year on check-fraud charges, responded: "Yes, your honor. Thank you."
The 43-year-old four-time felon then left FCI-Englewood federal penitentiary in Littleton and, a week later, made contact with his first victim, 24-year-old LeAnn Emry.
Emry, who would wind up dead in a desolate Utah canyon at the end of January 2003, would become one of three women last seen with Kimball.
Jennifer Marcum, whose body has never been found, would disappear the following month. She was the person Kimball used as his ticket out of prison, when he told the FBI that she was planning to kill a witness in a federal drug case and that he could inform on her.
Kaysi McLeod, the 19-year-old daughter of a Westminster woman Kimball later married, would die in August 2003 in the mountains near Walden.
Kimball pleaded guilty last year to killing all three women, as well as to the 2004 murder of his uncle. He was a paid informant for the FBI the entire time.
Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, whose office prosecuted Kimball's case and forged a plea agreement that put him away for 70 years, said he was bothered by what appeared to be a hasty decision by federal prosecutors to request Kimball's release.
Even though he didn't have a criminally violent past in late 2002, Garnett said, Kimball had accumulated several felonies and managed to pull off an escape from a halfway house in Montana.
"It's not clear what the rush was to release him into the public on Dec. 18," he said. "Obviously, it was unfortunate that he was released and released so quickly and with so little supervision; as we know he went into a violent phase."
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment Thursday, and a call to an FBI spokeswoman wasn't returned.
Howard Emry, LeAnn's father, thinks the FBI -- and by extension the U.S. Attorney's Office -- was so intent on using Kimball as an informant that the bureau chose to ignore Kimball's unsavory past.
"I think there was pressure from the FBI because they were sold on him being helpful to their cases," Emry said. "They were so desperate in trying to get Kimball to help them that they didn't do their homework."
Contact Camera Staff Writer John Aguilar at 303-473-1389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.