March 12th, 2010
Prosecutors, mother question whether Kimball tried to kill his own son
By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer
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.”
Life had taken on a rhythm of normalcy at the Kimballs’ rural rental property in Adams County, with Scott Kimball spending his days buying cattle on the Eastern Plains and selling them at auction as part of a beef business he started in late 2003.
At night, he’d relax in front of the TV, watching a steady fare of crime dramas.
But Kimball devoted most of his spare time to outdoor activities — hunting, camping and four-wheeling. He’d crank up heavy metal or country music and drive off to a favorite spot in the Colorado wilderness.
“He liked being out,” Lori McLeod recalls.
And he remained out of prison with the help of the federal government. Kimball’s contact at the FBI, Special Agent Carle Schlaff, made repeated calls to a Montana prosecutor to delay Kimball’s court hearings in a 2001 escape and theft case.
Federal prosecutors had spent the previous year vouching for Kimball, too, successfully arguing that he should get a minimal sentence on an Alaska check-fraud case so he could continue in his role as an informant. He had been given credit for time served and sentenced to three years of supervised probation.
As the sun set on a scorching July day, the boys, ages 10 and 8, were digging holes in a pasture to catch mice when, prosecutors believe, Kimball nearly claimed another victim.
July 15, 2004
Scott Kimball raced to the door of his home, carrying his older son in his arms. He shouted at his wife to call 911.
Moments after Kimball had sent the younger boy inside to fetch some sodas, a 200-pound metal grate, propped against the back of a truck, had toppled onto the 10-year-old, Kimball told his wife.
With the boy bleeding profusely from the back of his head, Kimball wasn’t going to wait for paramedics to arrive. He’d take his son to the hospital himself.
Kimball tore off toward his Jeep, leaving behind a 5-inch puddle of his son’s blood at the front door.
As father and son sped west on Dillon Road at up to 70 mph, the injured boy — gyrating in pain and heaving for breath — fell from the Jeep, smacking his head on the pavement as he rolled. Kimball stopped, scooped up his son and put him back in the vehicle.
The boy had tried to open the window, but in his delirium hit the door instead, Kimball would tell doctors when he arrived at Louisville’s Avista Hospital.
In critical condition, the child was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Denver, where he underwent emergency surgery on his brain and fractured skull and lapsed into a coma.
Later that night
As soon as Kimball’s mother heard of her grandson’s condition, she dashed to her Lafayette insurance office and changed the beneficiary of the boy’s $60,000 life-insurance policy — from Scott Kimball to herself.
Barb Kimball, who ran the American Family Insurance office at 801 S. Public Road, later told one of her employees she feared her son tried to kill his own child to cash in on the insurance. A few weeks earlier, Barb Kimball told the employee, Scott Kimball had asked if he was the listed beneficiary on the policy.
Scott Kimball’s son spent two weeks in a coma and two weeks in rehabilitation.
When he recovered enough to talk, he told police a story starkly different from his father’s.
Just before the accident, his father told him “to dig a hole next to the grate and to not turn around,” the boy told police.
In the Jeep, the boy remembered his father “reaching over him, opening the door, and pushing him out by the face.”
Louisville police and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, after a joint investigation, readied a case of attempted murder against Scott Kimball.
The severity of the boy’s head injury made him an unreliable witness.
Doctors said his recollections would be “convoluted” at best, leaving prosecutors with a case too flimsy to pursue.
Making matters worse, agencies in Adams County, where the accident occurred, and Boulder County, where the child was first hospitalized, couldn’t agree on how to proceed. Their wrangling continued for years, and the case floundered.
“There was a little bit of pointing of fingers between law-enforcement agencies,” recalls Katharina Booth, an 11-year veteran of the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. “I think he got away with that one.”
But Booth would remember the name Scott Kimball.