Serial killer Scott Kimball – facing new charges he was planning two murders and an audacious prison break – got out of his cell long enough Wednesday for his first court appearance in the case.
Judge Michael K. Singer formally told Kimball that he faces charges of solicitation of murder and conspiracy to commit escape – both felonies that could significantly add to the 70-year sentence he is currently serving for the murders of four people he committed after being let out of prison to act as an informant for the FBI.
Kimball, 51, spoke only once during the 18-minute hearing.
“I would like a preliminary hearing, your honor,” Kimball, who has not yet been appointed an attorney, said at one point.
According to court documents obtained by 9Wants to Know, Kimball and another inmate – a convicted killer named Marc Sylvester – convinced a former convict to carry out two contract killings, hijack a helicopter to spirit them out of the yard at the Sterling Correctional Facility, and escape to Alaska. The plan was to be financed by a million bucks Kimball claimed was buried near a Montana ranch, according to the documents filed in District Court in Sterling.
The plan fell apart, according to an arrest affidavit, when the former inmate enlisted to carry out the scheme was convinced by a family member to go to authorities instead.
Kimball is eight years into his sentence for the killings of four people carried out after he'd convinced the FBI that his cellmate, Steven Ennis, was plotting the murder of a witness in a drug case. On Dec. 18, 2002, a federal magistrate allowed for Kimball to be released from custody “to actively cooperate with the FBI on the Steven Ennis matter,” according to previously released court documents.
But instead of cooperating, Kimball murdered at least four people – and has been considered a potential suspect in other killings and disappearances.
In the eight months after his release, Kimball later admitted he killed LeAnn Emry, 24, Jennifer Marcum, 25, and Kaysi McLeod, 19.
Then, in mid-2004, he shot and killed his uncle, Terry Kimball, 60.
Wednesday afternoon, Kimball shuffled into court in orange prison scrubs, his wrists and ankles shackled.
Ostensibly, the purpose of the hearing was to formally advise Kimball of the charges he faces.
And despite the fact Kimball has no prospects of leaving prison anytime soon, District Attorney Brittny Lewton requested bail of $1 million for Kimball – which Judge Singer agreed to.
“The court is familiar with – unfortunately – somewhat similar cases, although none quite rises to this level of drama, I suppose we could say,” Singer said in imposing the bail.
He also scheduled a preliminary hearing Feb. 6 – although that could change once Kimball has an attorney.
The arrest affidavit obtained by 9Wants to Know lays out the foundation of the new charges against Kimball, suggesting that he was plotting for months to get back at a former business partner and then bust out of prison.
The plot began to come to light last April when a man who had been imprisoned with Kimball for two years went to a Drug Enforcement Administration agent and laid out the elaborate plan.
The case was turned over to the FBI, and the former inmate became what is known as a “confidential human source” – a secret informant.
The informant said that during his last months behind bars, Kimball had proposed to pay him to kill people and to help him escape from the Sterling prison, according to the affidavit.
Kimball named a former business partner, providing information about the location of his home, his housemates and details about his life, according to the affidavit. At the same time, according to the document, Kimball's new cellmate – Sylvester – got in on the plan.
Sylvester had his own target for a hit, according to the affidavit.
Once the killings were carried out, the man was directed to go to the tiny airport in Erie, where he was to rent a helicopter and then – once in the air – pull a gun on the pilot, zip-tie him into his seat, and force him to land in the yard at the Sterling prison, where Kimball and Sylvester would be waiting for a flight to freedom, according to the affidavit.
From there, the plan called for them to fly to a waiting rental car stashed about 20 miles away, then flee north to Alaska.
Kimball had dangled an enticing prize in front of the man, claiming he had a million dollars in cash buried in Montana and that he'd pay for the killings and the escape, according to the document.
Contact 9NEWS reporter Kevin Vaughan with tips about this or any story: firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-871-1862.