The Series

Chapter 1: On the Loose

March 7th, 2010

Conning the feds into releasing him from prison, Scott Kimball sets himself up for killing spree

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Scott Kimball, shown here in a photo found on his computer, was released early from federal prison to act as a confidential informant for the FBI. In the same way the con man swindled his way out of prison in late 2002, he used his charm and confidence to win the trust of victim after victim. Photo courtesy Lafayette Police Department.

Scott Kimball, shown in a photo found on his computer, was released from federal prison in late 2002 to act as a confidential informant for the FBI. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

Investigators found the grocery store receipt — for $17.95 worth of spaghetti sauce, pasta, meat and lighter fluid — among dozens of papers in a box belonging to Scott Kimball.

The 5-year-old slip of paper nagged at FBI Special Agent Jonny Grusing. Dated Aug. 24, 2003, one day after the disappearance of 19-year-old Kaysi McLeod, it came from the North Park Supers store in the tiny town of Walden in Colorado’s northern mountains.

Kimball, a career white-collar criminal released from prison as a paid FBI informant, had been the last person seen with Kaysi. He said he’d been alone in the high country the night Kaysi disappeared.

He had similar excuses in other cases, too.

Like the case of the veterinary assistant missing since she left on a cross-country spree with Kimball.

Like the case of the stripper whom Kimball had been assigned to keep an eye on for the FBI, but who vanished and was presumed murdered.

Like the case of Kimball’s own uncle, who went into business with him and was never seen again.

Read More >>

Chapter 2: Dead End

March 8th, 2010

Using the alias ‘Hannibal,’ Kimball calls his first victim one week out of prison

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Four-and-a-half years after LeAnn Emry’s death, investigators found this photo of her on Scott Kimball’s computer. It’s dated 11 days before Kimball marched her up a Utah canyon and shot her in the head with a .40-caliber Firestar handgun that she had bought for him. Photo courtesy of Lafayette police.

Police later found this photo of LeAnn Emry, dated 11 days before her death, on Scott Kimball’s computer. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

Introducing himself as “Hannibal,” Scott Kimball first called LeAnn Emry on Christmas Day, 2002.

He’d been released seven days earlier from federal prison, where he’d met LeAnn’s boyfriend, a bank robber named Steven Holley.

Holley had hatched an escape plan and asked Kimball to find LeAnn upon his release to fill her in on the details.

Kimball called the 24-year-old veterinary technician up to 17 times a day and soon endeared himself to her enough to be seen as a protector. Holley told LeAnn to listen to Hannibal, that if everything went as planned, the couple would soon be able to unite in Mexico and start a new chapter in their lives.

LeAnn needed Hannibal — calling him a “blessing” — but she knew her new friend had a volatile side.

Read More >>

LeAnn as a girl. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)

LeAnn as a girl. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

LeAnn Emry took pity on the powerless, whether abandoned animals or men behind bars.

As she struggled with bipolar disorder and depression, she fed her own sense of self-worth by helping the underdog, said her father, Howard Emry.

“She had a compassionate heart, but she didn’t know when to be cautious,” he said.

As a young girl, Emry remembers, LeAnn “kidnapped” four or five kittens from her grandparents’ farm in Idaho, hiding them in the back of the family pickup for the drive home to Colorado, because she thought the animals might not get the care they needed.

“Our place looked somewhat more like a zoo than a home,” said Emry, who counted two chinchillas, a rabbit, a ferret, three dogs, two cats, a turtle, a hamster and a goat among his daughter’s collection of pets over the years.

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Chapter 3: The Informant

March 9th, 2010

On the outside, Kimball has an assignment from the FBI: Keep an eye on Jennifer Marcum

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Jennifer Marcum in 2001. Scott Kimball met Jennifer’s boyfriend in prison and told the FBI she was involved in a plot to kill a drug dealer who might testify against him. The bureau let Kimball out so he could keep an eye on her. (Courtesy of Rob Marcum)

Jennifer Marcum in 2001. Scott Kimball met Jennifer’s boyfriend in prison and told the FBI she was involved in a plot to kill a drug dealer who might testify against him. The bureau let Kimball out so he could keep an eye on her. (Courtesy of Rob Marcum)

Jennifer Marcum felt like she was being watched.

Talking to her mother, Mary Willis, on the phone, Jennifer sounded afraid and said her phone was tapped. She talked about breaking up with her boyfriend, Steve Ennis, an accused drug dealer serving time at the FCI-Englewood federal prison.

In her last conversation with Ennis, on Feb. 17, 2003, the 25-year-old exotic dancer seemed hesitant and a little nervous. She told him over the phone that she’d be leaving for a few days.

She was going to Seattle with his former cellmate, Scott Kimball, who claimed he owned a coffee-cart business there. He would teach Jennifer how to manage the business — a job opportunity that could help the single mother get away from stripping at Shotgun Willie’s.

Read More >>

Under the FBI’s umbrella

March 9th, 2010

How Kimball gained the bureau’s trust and won his freedom

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

FCI-Englewood, the federal prison at U.S. 285 and Kipling Street in Littleton where Scott Kimball met Jennifer Marcum’s boyfriend, Steve Ennis. (Associated Press)

FCI-Englewood, the federal prison at U.S. 285 and Kipling Street in Littleton where Scott Kimball was held. (Associated Press)

By the time Scott Kimball left federal prison as an FBI informant in December 2002, he had gained the feds’ trust in at least three previous cases.

Although few details are public, it’s clear that Kimball — a career white-collar criminal who had served countless stints in jail and prison — gathered or fabricated information behind bars and shared it with authorities when it might benefit him.

He earned $1,865 as an informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in 1999.

He fed authorities information about the still-unsolved murder of federal prosecutor Tom Wales, who was shot to death in his Seattle home in October 2001.

And in February 2002, while imprisoned in Alaska on suspicion of check fraud, he told a U.S. Secret Service agent that his cellmate wanted to take a hit out on four people, including a federal judge and prosecutor.

The case, which resulted in his transfer to Colorado for his own protection, bore a striking resemblance to the story he told the FBI several months later about Steve Ennis and Jennifer Marcum.

Read More >>

Chapter 4: Catch and Release

March 10th, 2010

Back behind bars, Kimball tells the FBI he can help find Jennifer Marcum’s killer

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

FBI Special Agent Carle Schlaff had some questions for his informant, Scott Kimball.


Read a profile of
Jennifer Marcum.

Read about Jennifer Marcum's life

Kimball had been released from prison to keep tabs on a 25-year-old woman, and she hadn’t been heard from in weeks.

Where is Jennifer Marcum? Schlaff asked.

She had flown to New York to kill the drug dealer scheduled to testify against her boyfriend, Kimball told the agent. She had even bought a $600 revolver for the job, he said.

Schlaff investigated the claims.

According to Denver International Airport parking records, Jennifer’s car had been abandoned there in the early-morning hours of Feb. 18, 2003. But Jennifer never flew out of town that weekend, according to airline records.

Read More >>

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Jennifer Marcum, at age 23 or 24. (Courtesy Bob Marcum)

Minutes before her first professional stripping gig, Jennifer Marcum felt sick.

Uncomfortable. Guilty. As if she were being unfaithful to the father of her son, then 1½.

“I probably will cry, to be honest,” she told a Fox News television crew covering her first day at Shotgun Willie’s 11 years ago. “It’s a very scary feeling for me. I’ve always had manager jobs and (been) looked at as a very respectable person.”

Using the name Francesca, Jennifer took the stage in front of a group of cash-toting men, trying to get lost in the music and flashing lights. She knew this job could provide her the financial security to pursue bigger dreams with her boyfriend.

“I could probably make more in a week than he can in two, and I’d like to live in a house, and so I have higher goals,” she told the TV crew. “I’d like to go to school. He’d like to go to school.”

Jennifer didn’t reach those goals. She and her boyfriend, Jeff Wiggins, broke up a few years later, and she still worked at the Glendale strip club when she died in 2003.

Read More >>

Chapter 5: Misplaced Trust

March 11th, 2010

After her daughter vanishes, Lori McLeod puts her hope with Kimball

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Kaysi McLeod, pictured on a memorial Web site, had been missing for eight days when Scott Kimball married her mother, Lori McLeod. (respectance.com)

Fleeting signs of her daughter, missing since August 2003, kept Lori McLeod from losing hope.

There was the gold necklace — the one Kaysi had been wearing the last time she left the house — found hanging from the teenager’s bedroom doorknob one day.

McLeod’s new love, Scott Kimball, had pointed it out. See? Kaysi was just here.

Read More >>

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Kaysi as a teenager. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Weeks before Kaysi McLeod disappeared, her father visited her at the Subway sandwich shop where she worked. They sat at a table together for a few minutes, and Kaysi started to cry.

She said she was “not doing anything to be proud of,” Rob McLeod remembers.

“I told her having an honest job and doing an honest day’s work is something to be proud of,” he said.

McLeod never saw his daughter again.

Read More >>

Chapter 6: Hurt

March 12th, 2010

Prosecutors, mother question whether Kimball tried to kill his own son

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Scott Kimball and his younger son, sometime in the late 1990s. At age 10, Kimball’s older son suffered critical injuries when a 200-pound metal grate fell on him at his father’s property, then he fell out of the car racing to the hospital. (Courtesy of Rob McLeod)

Kaysi McLeod had been missing for nearly a year, but her mother remained hopeful the now-20-year-old would return.

Lori Kimball prayed that her new husband, Scott Kimball, might shed light on Kaysi’s whereabouts yet remained suspicious that he had something to do with her disappearance.

It made for an often-tense atmosphere between the couple.

“Scott is the most controlling person I have ever known in my life,” remembers Lori McLeod, who has since annulled her marriage and dropped Kimball’s last name. “As long as I kept my opinions to myself and didn’t question him, it was fine.”

Read More >>

Court has stripped father of parental rights

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Scott Kimball’s Adams County rental property, at 14701 Huron St., where his 10-year-old son suffered serious injuries. (Paul Aiken / Camera)

Other than slight vision problems in his left eye, Scott Kimball’s older son is perfectly healthy today.

The boy, now 16 and a sophomore in high school, has fully recovered from the critical injuries he suffered in the summer of 2004, though he stays off the athletic field so as to avoid another head injury.

“If you took a look at him today, you would never know,” said Larissa Hentz, Kimball’s ex-wife and the mother of his two sons.

What he hasn’t recovered from is the thought that his father tried to kill him to collect the life insurance, Hentz said.

“He’s been trying to grapple with that for years,” she said. “He was just part of his dad’s money-motivated sickness.”

Read More >>

Chapter 7: Uncle Terry

March 13th, 2010

Weeks after moving in with his nephew, Terry Kimball vanishes

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Terry Kimball with his dogs Badger, Dutch and Matilda in 1997. Dutch and Matilda, left, accompanied "Uncle Terry" on his trip to Colorado, but it’s unclear what happened to the dogs after his death. (Courtesy of Karen Johnson)

News of his 10-year-old grand-nephew’s accident reached Terry Kimball at his home in Lincoln, Ala., a few days after he returned home from a visit to Colorado.

He told his wife he needed to go back to be with his nephew Scott Kimball’s older son, who lay in a coma at Children’s Hospital in Denver.

Accompanied by two of the couple’s dogs, Terry packed up his Chevy Tahoe and headed back west.

Late July 2004

After several days at the boy’s bedside, “Uncle Terry” began talking to Scott Kimball about sticking around to work with him in his beef business.

Scott Kimball had helped launch Faith Farms the previous year and regularly drove to Brush and Fort Collins to buy and sell cows. The work suited Terry — a heavy-set 60-year-old who had labored as a truck driver, home renovator and oil rig maintenance man.

He moved into Scott and Lori Kimball’s Adams County home, staying in the room belonging to Lori Kimball’s daughter, Kaysi McLeod, who had been missing since the previous summer.

Terry’s decision to stay in Colorado didn’t sit well with Karen Johnson, his wife of 11 years. Scott Kimball had a criminal history, and she didn’t trust him.

Read More >>

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Terry Kimball, near Hamilton, Mont., in 1996. (Courtesy of Karen Johnson)

I’ve spent half a life time searching,
Wondering where it will end.
Looking beyond tomorrow,
Wondering if the scars I’ve left behind
Will ever mend.

The poetry of Terry Kimball rings true with Karen Johnson, his wife of 11 years.

Terry was a wanderer, said Johnson, who met him in 1992 on the shrimp boat docks in Brunswick, Ga.

The Navy veteran, 60 when he died, started his career in the late 1960s as an officer with the Colorado State Patrol. In the early 1970s, he worked for the Longmont Fire Department.

Read More >>

FBI agent introduces Jennifer Marcum’s parents to their daughter’s killer

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Bob Marcum, pictured at his home in Springfield, Ill., holds a photograph of his daughter Jennifer at age 8. (Kristen Schmid Schurter / For the Camera)

Bob Marcum and Mary Willis hadn’t heard from their daughter in more than a year, and no one seemed to have the slightest idea where she had gone.

Jennifer Marcum had stopped calling her parents, who lived in the Midwest and were divorced when she was an infant. Her phone went dead in the spring of 2003, disconnected with no forwarding number.

Her parents’ concerns grew.

At 25, Jennifer had already been through a failed marriage, had a son with a former boyfriend and was in love with an accused drug dealer in federal prison.

“We kept hoping she’d been arrested and that she was in prison and didn’t want us to know,” remembers Bob Marcum, who lives in Springfield, Ill. “We thought maybe she was in the witness protection program.”

One day in May 2004, the worried father asked a cop friend in Springfield to run his daughter’s name through a federal criminal database.

Read More >>

Chapter 9: Damaged

March 15th, 2010

Growing up in Lafayette, Scott Kimball meets the man who would scar him forever

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Police mugshots of Scott Kimball through the years, starting with his first felony conviction in Beaverhead County, Mont., in 1988, center. (Courtesy of Boulder County DA’s Office)

Police knew early on that Scott Kimball could be trouble.

Within a few years of joining the Lafayette police force in 1976, Mark Battersby responded to a call involving the adolescent Kimball, who grew up in Old Town.

The boy had gotten a hold of one of his father’s guns and was shooting out of his home, hitting other houses.

“I knew he was going to be a handful,” remembers Battersby, who’s now a commander with the department.

Born Sept. 21, 1966, Kimball attended Lafayette Elementary and Lafayette Middle schools, and he spent one month at Centaurus High before withdrawing as a freshman.

“He wasn’t one of the popular kids,” says Tina Goeden, 42, who went to elementary school with Kimball. “He was pretty quiet.”

Kimball’s parents divorced in 1976. His mother, Barb Kimball, would fall in love with another woman, and his father, Virgil Kimball, eventually moved out of the state and remarried.

Distressed by the breakup of his parents’ marriage, Kimball spent time with his grandmother at Lafayette’s Skylark Mobile Home Park, where he met a 41-year-old computer programmer who would scar him forever.

Read More >>

Ted Peyton, 74, returned to Nederland after serving time

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Theodore Peyton.

Theodore Peyton has done his time.

Sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing Scott Kimball and another boy, Peyton spent five years, three months and two weeks behind bars before being released on Oct. 6, 1996.

But Kimball remains scarred, and relatives say the abuse contributed to his life of crime.

In a July 1992 letter Kimball wrote to a Boulder district judge, he pleaded that Peyton remain behind bars.

“Ted Peyton denied me my right to a normal, healthy innocent childhood,” Kimball wrote to the judge, who was considering a sentence reduction for Peyton. “Because of Ted Peyton’s selfishness and his need for sexual gratification he has damaged my life forever.”

Read More >>

Chapter 10: Unraveling

March 16th, 2010

Kimball flees as Lafayette police investigate check fraud

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

A surveillance photo shows Scott Kimball cashing a forged check on optometrist Cleve Armstrong’s account at the former Centennial Bank of the West on South Boulder Road in Lafayette. (Courtesy of Lafayette police)

Cleve Armstrong thumbed through his stack of mail. The Lafayette optometrist, just back from vacation, couldn’t find his most recent bank statement.

He walked next door to Heritage Bank, where he kept $140,000 in a money-market account. The manager informed him there had been activity in his account — major activity.

More than $83,000 had been moved to his checking account over the last three weeks. From there, $55,000 worth of checks had been written to just two companies: Rocky Mountain All Natural Beef and Rocky Mountain Cattle Co.

The check-fraud case landed on the desk of Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher a few days later, on Jan. 16, 2006. He met with the 60-year-old eye doctor at his optometry office at 801 S. Public Road.

Barb Kimball ran an insurance office in the same building. Her son had a desk, a computer and some meat freezers in the basement, near a poorly secured closet where Armstrong kept his most sensitive financial records.

Read More >>

Chapter 11: Rockstar

March 17th, 2010

Caught after California car chase, Kimball starts facing serious questions

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Barreling down a highway in California’s Coachella Valley, Scott Kimball grabbed his cell phone and called his girlfriend.

It was March 14, 2006, and he was racing up to 80 mph in a Ford F-350 as a contingent of U.S. marshals and sheriff’s deputies from Riverside County gave chase.

Nickelback’s “Rockstar” blasted through his truck’s speakers.

“I’m through with standin’ in line to clubs I’ll never get in,
It’s like the bottom of the ninth and I’m never gonna win,
This life hasn’t turned out quite the way I want it to be.”

Kimball had been living in a rented casita in the California desert and dating 31-year-old Denise Pierce since fleeing Colorado two months earlier. Federal authorities had finally issued a warrant for his arrest on multiple probation violations, and they’d used his cell phone to trace his location.

Read More >>

Families, detectives discover there’s one man linking the missing victims

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

The billboard put up by Jennifer Marcum’s parents outside of Shotgun Willie’s in the summer of 2006. (Courtesy of Bob Marcum)

The name stunned Rob McLeod. Twelve letters in black and white could be the key to his daughter’s disappearance.

Kaysi had been missing for three years, and her father was reading a June 29, 2006, Westword article online about another woman who had disappeared. The story profiled Bob Marcum’s search for his own daughter, 25-year-old Jennifer, who had gone missing six months before Kaysi.

Marcum and his ex-wife, Mary Willis, had erected a billboard two days earlier above Shotgun Willie’s, the Glendale strip club where Jennifer had worked. The sign asked plaintively: “Jennifer, where are you?”

News of the billboard caught McLeod’s attention. But the name Scott Kimball, mentioned in Westword as one of Jennifer’s acquaintances, made him sit straight up.

Kimball was married to McLeod’s ex-wife, Lori.

Read More >>

The Cleanup Man

March 18th, 2010

FBI Agent Jonny Grusing “the right person” for the case

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

The FBI assigned Special Agent Jonathan Grusing to investigate Kimball in connection with the missing-persons cases in late 2006. (Marty Caivano / Camera)

Although the families of Scott Kimball’s murder victims are furious at the FBI for keeping him out of prison as an informant, they make a clear exception for Special Agent Jonny Grusing.

“When they picked Jon Grusing, they picked the right person,” said Howard Emry, who spent months trying to get the FBI to investigate the January 2003 disappearance of his daughter LeAnn.

Only once Grusing took Kimball’s case in late 2006 did Emry and the other families start to feel like someone at the bureau cared.

Assistant U.S. District Attorney Dave Conner, who prosecuted Kimball on federal firearms charges, called Grusing “the best criminal investigator I’ve ever seen.”

Read More >>

Hunter’s discovery of first body forces Scott Kimball to deal with prosecutors

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

LeAnn Emry, whose January 2003 death was connected to Scott Kimball once investigators interviewed her imprisoned boyfriend in October 2007. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)

FBI Special Agent Jonny Grusing called Howard Emry at home on Oct. 29, 2007, and asked to speak to his daughter, LeAnn.

“She’s been missing for nearly five years now,” Emry remembers replying.

He told the agent he feared LeAnn had been killed back in January 2003.

Find “Hannibal,” he remembers saying. “That’s who murdered my daughter.”

Two days later, Grusing and Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher visited LeAnn’s boyfriend, Steven Holley, in federal prison.

Scott Kimball was Hannibal, Holley told them.

He had murdered LeAnn after getting out of prison, promising he would help Holley with a scheme to escape.

A twisted, “sick fuck,” Kimball had fantasies of being a serial killer, Holley said.

Kimball once asked Holley to torture and kill his second wife, the mother of his children, and to make sure she knew Kimball ordered the hit, he said.

Read More >>

From bad checks to bodies

March 19th, 2010

Young Lafayette detective ‘connected the dots’

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher stands in front of the 801 S. Public Road building that in 2005 housed the offices of Cleve Armstrong, Barb Kimball and Scott Kimball. (Kasia Broussalian / Camera)

Some of the strongest praise of Gary Thatcher’s efforts to put Scott Kimball behind bars comes from an unlikely source — the criminal himself.

“All credit goes to Detective Thatcher. He is from small hick town USA and he connected the dots,” Kimball wrote to the Camera, in response to a letter sent to him at the Sterling Correctional Facility. “Thatcher is the reason I was even looked at.”

Thatcher, an eight-year veteran of the Lafayette Police Department, shares credit with the FBI, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office and the families who doggedly looked for answers about their loved ones’ disappearances.

“To me, it was a team effort,” Thatcher said.

But it was the young detective’s initial investigation into a $55,000 check-fraud scam that led to Kimball’s undoing.

Read More >>

After failing to find Jennifer’s body, Kimball gets two counts, 70 years

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

A sheriff’s deputy leads LeAnn Emry’s family to the site where investigators found her body in March 2009. (Courtesy of Howard Emry)

A convoy of nine SUVs loaded with FBI agents, sheriff’s deputies, defense attorneys, a Lafayette police detective, two Boulder County prosecutors and Scott Kimball bounced and swayed down rutted roads in Utah’s desolate Book Cliffs country north of Moab.

Driving through pouring rain, the vehicles slid sideways as Kimball guided the cavalcade to the locations where he said he’d buried LeAnn Emry and Jennifer Marcum.

It was February 2009, and law-enforcement officials had pored over maps and satellite photos with Kimball before narrowing down the search area.

“It was huge country, and it was like looking for a needle in a haystack,” remembers Boulder County prosecutor Amy Okubo.

Two days of searching from sunup to sundown yielded nothing.

March 11, 2009

The contingent returned to the same area, and this time, Kimball pointed out a dirt road leading to a box canyon.

There, FBI Special Agent Jonny Grusing found a bone. Then a hair clip.

A bullet fragment discovered at the site would match the ballistics of Kimball’s .40-caliber Firestar handgun, which had been tracked to an acquaintance’s house two years earlier.

Kimball had just led investigators to the remains of LeAnn Emry, six years and 41 days after shooting her in the head.

Investigators ushered Kimball back into a government SUV as the recovery proceeded.

Howard Emry holds a memorial stone that he plans to put at the Utah site where Scott Kimball killed his daughter. (Matthew Cilley / for the Camera)

“We didn’t want him to have any pleasure from reliving anything,” remembers Katharina Booth, Okubo’s colleague in the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office.

As Booth looked up the wash and watched agents and deputies uncover more bones from the cliff face, she was overcome.

She could envision LeAnn, curling into a fetal position in those last, defenseless moments. The memory still brings the prosecutor to tears.

“She knew what was happening to her,” Booth says. “It was incredibly moving.”

Kimball, on the other hand, seemed unfazed by the find.

Later that morning

The convoy rolled west as the search for Jennifer’s remains resumed.

Kimball perked up as he led the crew deeper into the desert.

He told them he had pulled Jennifer’s body from the back of a Jeep and buried her in a creek bed. He described landmarks in the area, the wash where her body lay and the rocks used to bury her.

“Merry Christmas!” Kimball exclaimed, as the group entered Spring Canyon.

Nothing.

“You can take this to the bank,” he shouted, as another indistinguishable wash turned out to be a dead end.

After several hours of searching, officials shut the operation down.

“We went from this canyon to that canyon to this canyon to that canyon,” Okubo remembers. “It felt more like he was messing with us.”

Over the next month, authorities excavated creek beds and used cadaver dogs in the search for Jennifer. They turned up no trace.

“It felt like failure,” Booth says softly.

Scott Kimball is wheled into a Boulder County courtroom before his sentencing hearing on Oct. 8, 2009. (Mark Leffingwell / Camera)

June 29, 2009

The search for “Uncle Terry” went more smoothly.

Scott Kimball drew a map to the spot high in the Colorado Rockies where he’d dumped his uncle’s body. As soon as the snow melted in the mountains, a search team headed to Vail Pass.

“Scott had told us Terry was wrapped up in a gray tarp with 100 feet of white rope,” Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher remembers.

The search team pulled off of logging road 713A in Eagle County and spread out to comb through the woods.

Shortly before noon, Thatcher spotted a tarp tucked into some trees in the distance.

“Got you that body, get up here,” Thatcher texted Booth down in Boulder.

An autopsy revealed that Terry Kimball had been shot through the back of the head with a .40-caliber handgun.

Fall 2009

Concluding that Scott Kimball had violated the agreement by failing to find Jennifer’s body, prosecutors ripped up their original deal with him.

They hammered out a new one: Plead guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and go to prison for 70 years.

Kimball agreed.

“I’m a gambler. I know a great deal when I see one,” he later wrote in response to questions the Camera sent to him at Sterling Correctional Facility. “I was already doing 48 years for fraud. Why take a chance of receiving four death sentences or life without parole when I could put four potential murder cases to rest?”

Jennifer Marcum’s sister, Tammy Marcum, hugs father Bob Marcum after a Boulder County district judge sentenced Scott Kimball to 70 years in prison on Oct. 8, 2009. (Mark Leffingwell / Camera)

Oct. 8, 2009

In front of a packed Boulder County district courtroom, Kimball pleaded guilty to two counts of murder for the deaths of LeAnn Emry, Jennifer Marcum, Kaysi McLeod and Terry Kimball.

Sitting in a wheelchair and looking much older than his 43 years, Kimball glanced at the standing-room-only crowd as he was wheeled into the courtroom.

The victims’ grief-stricken parents and siblings — most of them facing Kimball for the first time — lambasted the defendant for his crimes.

“He made the deliberate choice to murder, and he made that choice at least four times,” LeAnn’s mother, Darlene Emry, said through tears.

Howard Emry, LeAnn’s father, said his daughter had a bright future that ended with Kimball.

“If LeAnn had lived, I am certain that many people would have benefited from her life,” he said.

Rob McLeod told the court his daughter, Kaysi, had gone through a “prodigal season” in her life, using drugs for a time and running away from home. But he said she was turning her life around when she met Kimball.

“I was present, right there, the very moment that Kaysi took her first breath in this world,” he said. “Scott Kimball was there to take her last.”

Through a cascade of tears, Lori McLeod faced her former husband in court and said God had received her only child.

“I believe that Kaysi has forgiven Scott Kimball,” she said. “I choose to forgive Scott Kimball.”


Read more about Boulder prosecutors
Katharina Booth and Amy Okubo.

Bob Marcum, still without a daughter to bury, told the court that Kimball “has destroyed our lives,” and questioned whom else he had hurt.

“How many other people are missing as a result of his life?” he said.

Tammy Marcum demanded that Kimball say where he’d dumped her sister’s body so the family could give Jennifer a Christian burial.

“There is not going to be any place for your soul until you truly repent and you tell me where my sister is,” Tammy Marcum said, her voice strained by anger.

Family members lifted Kleenexes to their faces, as sounds of sobbing swept the courtroom.

Kimball, dressed in a red jail uniform, looked straight ahead in silence.

Click here to read more about Boulder prosecutors Katharina Booth and Amy Okubo »

Click here to read the previous chapter »

‘The Boulder bitches’

March 20th, 2010

Veteran prosecutors still touched by Kimball case

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Prosecutors Katharina Booth, left, and Amy Okubo, tagged by Kimball as "the Boulder bitches," pose for a photo in Courtroom Q of the Boulder County Justice Center. (Marty Caivano / Camera)

Katharina Booth, Boulder County chief deputy district attorney, has kept the text message Lafayette police Detective Gary Thatcher sent last summer after finding Terry Kimball’s body near Vail Pass.

Her colleague, Chief Deputy DA Amy Okubo, hasn’t erased her iPhone photos of the Utah desert where she spent several days with a search team last March looking for human bones or signs of a makeshift grave.

These are some of the grim relics of the Scott Kimball serial murder case, which contained no shortage of twists and turns for those trying to get to the bottom of it.

“From beginning to end, everything about this case has been amazing,” said Okubo, a 16-year veteran of the office. “Who could have known we would end up here?”

Here being a 70-year prison sentence for a homegrown killer who four years ago amounted to little more than a white-collar nuisance in the eyes of investigators.

Okubo, 50, and Booth, 37, got to the heart of Kimball’s misdeeds by tirelessly boring into and disarming their suspect. Booth, who already had her suspicions about Kimball from a 2004 incident in which he was suspected of trying to kill his son, insisted that then-DA Mary Lacy let her take the case.

“When Katharina gets her teeth into something, she doesn’t let go,” Okubo said.

Dubbed by Kimball as “the Boulder bitches,” the two spent countless hours gathering and analyzing evidence, starting with check-fraud allegations in Lafayette and then the murders of four people across two states. They negotiated with Kimball, cajoled him, leaned on him. They finally got a two-count murder conviction and returned the remains of three of his victims to the families.

“They are remarkable, tough prosecutors, and if I were Scott Kimball I would come up with some names for them as well,” Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said.

Both women continued working other cases throughout.

Each successfully tried a first-degree murder case last year — Okubo prosecuted Diego Alcalde in the decade-old beating death of University of Colorado student Susannah Chase, and Booth prosecuted Joseph Abeyta for shooting William Andrews in Boulder in January 2009.

Whether Kimball’s case ends up as a defining moment in Booth’s and Okubo’s careers, there is no question his crimes have touched them forever.

Booth, with 11 years as a prosecutor under her belt, still breaks down when recounting how Howard and Darlene Emry laid flowers at the spot where Kimball killed their daughter more than seven years ago.

And Okubo marvels at the extraordinary combination of determination and luck that finally put Kimball away.

“I don’t think we’ll ever see something like that again,” she said.

Go back to Chapter 14 »

Chapter 15: Still Waiting

March 21st, 2010

Some of the victims’ families find closure, but many questions remain unanswered

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Howard and Darlene Emry sit together at the Church of the Nazarene in Payette, Idaho, during a memorial service last month for their murdered daughter, LeAnn. The recovered remains of Scott Kimball’s victims have only been returned to their families in the last few weeks. (Matt Cilley / for the Camera)

Last month, inside the Church of the Nazarene in Payette, Idaho, Howard Emry delivered the eulogy that he and his wife, Darlene, had waited seven years to give.

“LeAnn had a compassionate heart, especially toward those less fortunate than herself,” Emry said from behind a wooden lectern adorned with a cross, bouquet and two photos of his daughter, forever 24. “If she had lived today, I believe her life would have benefited many people.”

Although the FBI still had LeAnn’s remains, awaiting last-minute corrections to her death certificate, the Emrys decided to finally hold her memorial service Feb. 9.

“It helped an awful lot,” Howard Emry said. “It helped me in the fact that I was able to tell people who LeAnn was.”

The FBI has since returned LeAnn’s remains. When the weather gets warmer, the Emrys will scatter her ashes at a secret spot in Wyoming where their animal-loving daughter laid to rest her favorite Dalmatian years ago.

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Describing himself as a ‘cleaner,’ Kimball claims he isn’t solely responsible for murders

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Scott Kimball, in his first televised interview from prison, told Fox 31 news that “even a good guy can have a bad side.” (Courtesy of Fox 31 News)

Scott Kimball likes to describe himself not as a serial killer, but as a “cleaner.”

“You have a problem that you need cleaned up, call a cleaner,” Kimball wrote from the Sterling Correctional Facility in response to questions sent to him by the Camera.

His meaning is vague at best, but Kimball claims the killings of three women in 2003 stemmed from a vast criminal enterprise in which he played only a small part. The FBI, he said, was complicit.

Kimball’s stories are pure fantasy, and they have changed to fit the evidence before him, Boulder County prosecutor Katharina Booth said.

Each of his claims has been investigated and discounted, she said.

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