CODY, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A Wapiti man was found guilty of first degree murder in Cody Friday. The jury deliberated for less than three hours, before deciding Dennis Klingbeil murdered his wife in their home.
76- year old Dennis Klingbeil was arrested and charged with first degree murder after he shot and killed his wife, Donna, at their Wapiti home August 5, 2018. His trial started exactly one year later.
He told a Cody jury Thursday he did shoot his wife, but did it accidentally as he was bringing the cocked
pistol down after aiming it at his own head. Klingbeil did take pills after the incident, in an apparent attempt to kill himself.
But in closing arguments, the prosecuting attorney showed a picture of the gun wound on the victim’s head. He called it a muzzle mark, and said it proved Klingbeil put the gun to his wife’s head, and killed her intentionally.
The prosecutor said the evidence proved the killing was 1st degree murder.
But the defense attorney told the jury, “We don’t have CSI evidence”, and said the physical evidence did not prove the mark on the victim’s head was a muzzle mark. He said Dennis Klingbeil had tried to commit suicide twice before, and when said, “I’m going to end this tonight”, he meant he was going to kill himself, not that he was going to kill his wife.
Apparently the jury decided the physical evidence was enough to prove Klingbeil had pre-meditated malice when he shot his wife, and convicted him of first degree murder.
Yet, Prosecuting Attorney Mike Blonigen was not happy.
He said, “And again we have a situation with domestic violence, and substance abuse and conflict, and it ended very badly. You have an innocent person dead, you have another man and his life is over, and will die in prison, and you have a family that’s destroyed, so there are no winners here.”
The couples’ sons sat side by side in the courtroom. When the verdict was read, they both cried. A sentencing date has not been set yet.