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Wife Guilty of Unlawful Imprisonment For Keeping Husband Captive

June 18, 1986

VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) _ A woman who kept her husband tied to a bed in the basement of their home for more than two months was convicted Tuesday along with two of her children on charges of second-degree unlawful imprisonment.

A Woodford County Circuit Court Jury found Shirley Kimberl innocent of attempted murder and her children innocent of accomplice to attempted murder.

Prosecutors claimed Mrs. Kimberl and her children doused James Kimberl, 47, with water during his confinement and created drafts with a fan to make him catch pneumonia and die so they could collect on an insurance policy. Kimberl escaped through a window Feb. 7.

The defense maintained Mrs. Kimberl had been beaten for 22 years by an alcoholic husband and acted out of desperation to protect herself.

The jury recommended that Mrs. Kimberl, 40, her daughter Kimberly, 19, and son, James Kimberl Jr., 18, serve 12 months each for the unlawful imprisonment. The three have been jailed for four months.

The three had been charged with kidnapping, but the jury returned the alternative misdemeanor charge.

A third child, Kathy, 21, pleaded guilty earlier to wanton endangerment, facilitation of kidnapping and attempted welfare fraud. She has not been sentenced.

Woodford County Circuit Judge David Knox set sentencing for July 3.

The three were accused of holding the elder Kimberl captive in the basement of their their Versailles home from Dec. 3 until his escape.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney James Greer told the jury that Kimberl had lost his job, and so became dispensable to his wife and children, who ″only wanted him for his money.″

He said the three defendants intended to kill Kimberl so his wife could collect $50,000 from his pension fund, annuity and life insurance policy.

Greer said in his closing remarks that during Kimberl’s confinement, he was doused with water and a fan turned on him in a filthy, cold basement, and was not properly fed or washed.

″It was evident they were in no hurry to leave,″ he said ″They were going to stay there until he died.″

Defense attorney Thomas O’Shaughnessy said Kimberl was not abused or neglected during his confinement.

Mrs. Kimberl acted out of desperation to give herself time to earn enough money from a painting job so that she and the children could move out of the house, he said.

Mrs. Kimberl also was found guilty of attempting to commit welfare fraud for reporting on a food-stamp application that her husband had left home.

The jury was instructed that the highest possible verdict that could be returned against the Kimberl children was accomplice to attempted murder.

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