Crime & Courts

Son who shot and killed Kansas mom ‘acted bravely and legally,’ attorney says

A boy who shot and killed his drunken mom will plead not guilty and argue in juvenile court that he was legally defending himself and his brother, his attorney said.

The boy’s lawyers have filed to dismiss a voluntary manslaughter charge in the June 20, 2018, death of 41-year-old Lisa Trimmell at a mansion near Andover. Her two sons, ages 14 and 12 at the time, were the only other people there.

The older brother “acted bravely and legally in defending himself and his younger brother ... from her attack,” said Dan Monnat, a defense attorney for the older brother.

District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a statement that the boy is scheduled for a first appearance in juvenile court on Friday.

The Eagle is not naming the boy because the matter is in juvenile court.

“For many years, Lisa Trimmell was a devoted, loving mother who raised two intelligent, polite and well-behaved young boys to lead good lives,” Monnat said. “But, the autopsy of Lisa Trimmell confirms her death is another instance of the rampant disease of adult alcohol abuse leading to tragic results. Lisa long suffered the effects of chronic alcoholism, including physically abusing her two young boys.”

The autopsy found Trimmell had “acute and chronic alcoholism” and “hepatic cirrhosis” or scarring of the liver, The Eagle previously reported. Her blood-alcohol level at the time of the autopsy was 0.185 — more than double the legal limit for driving.

The autopsy report concluded her death was a homicide. A bullet hit her neck and severed her spine. There were also 16 blunt-force injuries to her body.

“...This tragic event should not now be made more tragic by second-guessing the difficult decisions made that night through the prosecution of a child,” Monnat said. “Under clear Kansas law, children have as much right to defend themselves and their siblings against repeated acts of violent abuse as anybody else.”

The boy will plead not guilty, Monnat said, and the attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss before he is “made to face trial on homicide charges.”

The motion says the brothers were with Trimmell at the mansion that night as court-ordered parenting time. Trimmell and her orthodontist husband, Dr. Justin Trimmell, were going through a divorce. He had moved out and taken the boys with him.

She had taken the boys to the home after the older brother’s baseball game in west Wichita. Trimmell was under the influence of alcohol and physically attacked the younger brother, the attorneys wrote in court documents.

The older brother grabbed his mother’s gun, “fearing for the life of his younger brother, as well as his own,” the document states. He fired a single shot at his mom in an effort to stop her attack, then called 911, the document says.

A counseling professional determined before Trimmell’s death that her sons suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her previous physical and psychological abuse, the defense attorneys wrote. She had been told by their therapist that continued drinking would trigger their PTSD.

The lawyers argue that the boy is immune from prosecution. They cite Kansas statute 21-5222, which states, in part, that a person is justified in using deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to such person or a third person.” The law allows that person to stand his ground rather than retreat.

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