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Sentence Upheld In Bethel Death

Montpelier — Vermont’s highest court affirmed a minimum 14-year prison sentence yesterday for a man convicted in the 2004 death of his ex-wife, rejecting his claims that he should have been allowed to testify about her propensity for violence.

In its decision, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s sentence of William “Al” Kimmick and said that the court had heard sufficient details about how Kathryn Kimmick was prone to alcohol-fueled violent outbursts.

The lower court “expressly recognized that petitioner had committed the offense while the victim was drunk and armed with a knife, and that theirs had been a particularly ‘volatile relationship,’” the Supreme Court wrote.

But the lower court rejected that that was reason enough for a lighter sentence and criticized Kimmick for appearing to blame the victim, the ruling said.

The Supreme Court ruling came as part of a response to a petition that Kimmick, now 44, had filed. He had argued that his attorney provided ineffective legal advice because the attorney would not allow Kimmick to testify about his wife’s behavior.

The body of Kathryn Kimmick, 41, was found frozen in a car outside her Bethel apartment on Jan. 23, 2004. It was estimated she had died three days before. An autopsy found she died of a blow, or blows, to the head. William Kimmick has said she attacked him with a knife beforehand.

William Kimmick fled to Taiwan after her death, but he surrendered to authorities there after his passport was revoked and returned to the United States.

Kimmick was charged with second-degree murder, but in the fall of 2004 he agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter.

In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction. The next year, acting as his own lawyer, Kimmick filed the petition, arguing his attorney threatened to withdraw from the case if Kimmick testified about his late ex-wife’s history of violence.

Kimmick is being held at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport. He’s scheduled for release in 2018.