Bond denied for Jackson County man charged in wife’s death

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Bond has been denied for a Jackson County man arrested on murder charges.

On Monday, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom denied the motion for James Kiser, 40, of Kenna, on his first-degree murder charge. In September, Kiser admitted to police he killed his wife Crystal Dawn Kiser, 36, and buried her in a shallow grave.

“Given the seriousness to the nature of these charges and the proximity of the children,” Bloom said in court Monday.

“The children’s interest is foremost to because they are potential witnesses. I think that continued incarceration pending trial is appropriate.”

Kiser’s two children, both teenagers, currently live with his mother, Betty Kiser. She took the stand during the bond hearing and said that she would welcome Kiser to her home if he was released on bond.

James Kiser

Betty Kiser was one of over a dozen family members on hand, supporting bond for James Kiser. Dwayne Harrison, the second cousin of James Kiser and former employer, said he had a job for Kiser if he was released.

Don Morris, Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor, asked Harrison if he still trusted Kiser even though Kiser allegedly lied to him between the time the victim was missing and the admission of killing. Harrison said yes.

“He lied to his own family, he has lied on an application on the purchase of a firearm,” Morris told the court. “He has a prior history of violence, not only with this victim but with another woman.”

Morris said the victim had filed two separate domestic violence petitions against Kiser, including one of them she claimed that he had choked her and she feared for her life. He also alleged that the defendant had been stalking the victim leading up to the murder.

The defendant was convicted in 1998 of domestic battery in Fayetteville, court records showed, and had lied about the conviction on an application to purchase a firearm.

The lying continued to the police, according to Morris.

“He gave two different versions of how the crime occurred,” he said. “He said he confronted the victim and used the words “lost it” with the victim. He initially said the victim fell inside the house during the struggle and hit her head. Later on, he changed his story that the victim fell outside, hit a rock with her head, causing death.”

On September 5, Kiser admitted to killing his wife nearly a month after she was reported missing on August 11. According to him, he killed the victim during an argument at her grandmother’s home on Lessle Lane near Sissonville. He then took her body to a remote location near the community of Kentuck in Jackson County where he buried her.

Crystal Dawn Kiser

Kanawha County Sheriff’s office said the body was discovered early on the morning of September 6. Morris said on Monday that the body was rotting and when found was mostly skeletal remains. Because of that, he said, an autopsy to find the cause of death may be difficult to complete but it doesn’t appear the victim had any injuries to her skull.

Kiser will remain in the South Central Regional Jail. Bloom said if the state doesn’t present the case to a grand jury by early 2020, he would take another look at a bond.

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