Scott Kimball at his sentencing hearing in the Boulder County Justice Center. Camera file photo
Scott Kimball pleads guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of LeAnn Emry, Jennifer Marcum, Kaysi McLeod and Terry Kimball, and is sentenced to 70 years in prison.
In an emotional hearing at the Boulder County Justice Center, the victims’ families finally have a chance to face the man who killed their loved ones.
LeAnn Emry’s mother said her daughter was “no more important to him than the carcass of a dead animal.”
“He made the deliberate choice to murder, and he made that choice at least four times,” Darlene Emry said through tears.
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When Terry Kimball's body is returned to his family, he will be buried next to his parents in Lafayette Cemetery. (Paul Aiken / Camera)
With the snow melted in Colorado’s high country, a search party follows a map drawn by Scott Kimball to a logging road near Vail Pass.
There, Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher finds Terry Kimball’s body wrapped in a gray tarp. He appears to have been shot through the head.
A bullet fragment found at the scene is later found to be consistent with Scott Kimball’s .40-caliber Firestar handgun.
Terry Kimball. (Courtesy photo)
Bloodstains found the previous summer in the carpet of Scott Kimball’s former Adams County homes test positive as a match for his “Uncle Terry,” based on a DNA sample from Terry Kimball’s daughter.
Boulder County DA Stan Garnett. (Camera file photo)
Without Jennifer Marcum’s body, Boulder County prosecutors revoke their deal with Kimball.
In a December 2008 “memorandum of understanding,” Kimball had agreed to lead investigators to the bodies of LeAnn Emry, Jennifer Marcum and Terry Kimball. In return, he would face only one count of second-degree murder.
In a letter to Kimball’s public defenders, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett writes that Kimball is considered “in breach” of the deal.
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Vail Pass. (colorado-counties.com)
Scott Kimball draws authorities a detailed map to the spot near Vail Pass where he left his uncle Terry Kimball’s body. But a search will have to be postponed until the snow melts in the high country.
Kimball later tells FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing that Uncle Terry’s body — stashed in the woods in his clothing, tennis shoes and eyeglasses — is wrapped in a grey tarp bound by about 100 feet of nylon rope.
Kimball's mug shot. (Rocky Mountain News)
Boulder County prosecutors make a deal with Scott Kimball.
He pleads guilty to stealing $55,000 from Lafayette optometrist Cleve Armstrong as a habitual offender, and is sentenced to 48 years in prison.
In exchange, prosecutors draw up a memorandum of understanding in the missing-persons case. If he will lead investigators to the bodies of Jennifer Marcum, LeAnn Emry and Terry Kimball, he will only face a single count of second-degree murder.
They will otherwise pursue a first-degree murder conviction, punishable by life in prison without parole or the death penalty. But that will be difficult with only one set of remains — Kaysi McLeod’s — that show no evidence of the cause or manner of death.
For prosecutors Amy Okubo and Katharina Booth, the deal represents their only chance of finding the missing victims.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that without his help,” Booth said. “It was a deal with the devil.”
Read the Rocky Mountain News article.
Kimball's Montana Department of Corrections mug.
Scott Kimball is interviewed by FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing and Lafayette police detective Gary Thatcher at the Cascade County Detention Facility in Great Falls, Mont.
Asked about the disappearances of Jennifer Marcum, Kaysi McLeod and Terry Kimball, he offers to provide information about Jennifer and his uncle if given immunity for his white-collar crimes. Kaysi, he tells the investigators, is still alive.
During the six-hour interview, Kimball makes statements like: “I can’t incriminate myself any further” and “I wish I could be honest with you.”
FBI Special Agent Jonathan Grusing. (Marty Caivano/Camera)
After Bob Marcum and Rob McLeod meet with the FBI about their missing daughters, Special Agent Jonathan Grusing is assigned to investigate the missing-persons cases surrounding Scott Kimball.
Working with Lafayette police detective Gary Thatcher, Grusing launches an exhaustive investigation, looking for clues that Kimball had transitioned from a white-collar criminal to a serial killer.
Bob Marcum and Rob McLeod meet with Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher, who is investigating Kimball for check fraud, about their missing daughters.
They ask to have a bone pit on Kimball’s cattle pasture searched for human remains, but police find nothing.
The two fathers also meet with the FBI at the bureau’s Denver office and explain the similarities in their daughters’ cases. They tell the FBI about Terry Kimball, too, saying they don’t buy that he ran off to Mexico.
“You can look into this and see if it goes anywhere, or you can choose not to,” McLeod tells the bureau. “It’s your choice.”
Terry Kimball in 2002. (Courtesy of Karen Johnson)
Bob Marcum, who has flown out to Colorado, meets with Rob and Lori McLeod to search for clues to their daughters’ whereabouts.
They drive to Scott Kimball’s former condo in Lakewood, where Jennifer had left her furniture, and talk to the manager there.
They scope out his former Adams County property, and a nearby field where Kimball had run cattle. A pit on the property contains the bones of slaughtered cows.
Convinced that Kimball has claimed more victims, Marcum asks the others: “Is there anyone else Scott Kimball has been around who you’ve never seen again?”
In fact, Lori McLeod responds, Scott’s uncle Terry had vanished a couple of years ago after living with them for several weeks.
“She said it like she had never thought about it before,” Marcum said.
(Date is approximate.)
Nearly a year after Terry Kimball’s disappearance, Scott Kimball’s father, Virgil Kimball, receives an e-mail at his Idaho home from email@example.com.
“In the e-mail, Terry claimed to be living in old Mexico with a woman named Ginger and added that Ginger liked living in Mexico,” FBI agent Johnny Grusing would later write in an affidavit. “Virgil recalled that supposedly Ginger never wanted to return to the United States, so Terry probably would not either.”
Police would trace the account to Scott Kimball’s computer two years later.
(Date is approximate.)
Posing as his missing uncle Terry Kimball, Scott Kimball buys 21 head of cattle from High Plains Livestock Exchange in Brush, Colo., for $11,617.50.
The check bounces.
High Plains filed a complaint against Terry Kimball with the Department of Agriculture two months later.
High Plains' complaint against 'Terry Kimball.' (Courtesy of Lafayette police)
Read the full complaint (PDF).
Scott Kimball uses his uncle Terry Kimball’s credit cards at a hotel and gas station in Helena, Mont.
He will use them again Sept. 25-27 for a hotel and rental car in Alaska.
When investigators discover the usage years later, they talk to Lori McLeod, who says she accompanied her husband on both trips, but hadn’t seen Terry Kimball for weeks.
Terry Kimball at Christmas dinner in 2000. (Courtesy of Karen Johnson)
By Labor Day, Terry Kimball’s wife, Karen Johnson, hasn’t seen her husband for six weeks.
Knowing that he’s taken off on his own before, she begins to suspect he’s run off with another woman.
Johnson calls Scott Kimball’s house and hears the story that “Uncle Terry” won the lottery and left the country.
She tries to corroborate the story, but eventually files for divorce.
No one reports Terry Kimball missing.
(Camera file photo)
“Uncle Terry” Kimball goes missing a few weeks after moving in with his nephew, Scott Kimball.
Scott Kimball’s wife, Lori McLeod, recalls coming home one day in late August or early September to find her couch sitting outside, drenched in what looked like vomit.
Scott Kimball says one of the dogs threw up on the couch, but McLeod suspects “Uncle Terry” and asks where he is.
Scott Kimball claims his uncle won the Ohio lottery and cruised down to Mexico with a stripper named Ginger.
(Posting date is approximate.)
Terry Kimball at Montana's Lake Como, 1996. (Courtesy of Karen Johnson)
Someone begins kiting checks on Terry Kimball’s account.
The activity continues through Nov. 18, 2004, and totals $23,083 in the end.
Terry Kimball’s bank, MBNA America, filed a suspicious activity report with the FBI’s Denver office, but it’s unclear when the report was made or whether the bureau did anything about it.
Scott Kimball was not charged in the theft, but a teller identified him as the person who presented the last check on Nov. 18, according to police records.
Terry Kimball with his dogs Badger, Dutch and Matilda in 1997. Dutch and Matilda, left, accompanied “Uncle Terry” on his trip to Colorado. (Courtesy of Karen Johnson)
Upon hearing that his nephew Scott Kimball’s eldest son has been critically injured, Terry Kimball, 60, comes to Colorado to visit.
He ends up staying to work with Scott Kimball’s beef business, Faith Farms, and moves into his nephew’s Adams County home.
(Date is approximate.)
Terry Kimball in Georgia, 1998. (Courtesy Karen Johnson)
After four years in the Navy, Terry Kimball spends most of his adulthood working odd jobs and traveling the country.
From 1962 to 1966, he served “in the communications division aboard United States Navy Ships operation in the Pacific theater,” according to his resume.
He worked as an officer for the Colorado State Patrol from 1966 to 1970, then for the Longmont Fire Department until 1973.
He worked in a variety of jobs around the country after that, traveling around the South and West as a carpenter and truck driver.
Kimball had one daughter, Stephanie Pelster, who could not be reached for this project.
In 1993, he married Karen Johnson, who described him as a “happy-go-lucky person” who loved to work in the garden and cook elaborate meals.
Read Terry Kimball’s poetry. (PDF)
Terry Kimball is born in Steamboat Springs.
Twenty-two years later, his brother Virgil will father Scott Kimball.