Dennis Klingbeil is seeking an appeal to a recent Park County District Court decision that put him behind bars for the rest of his life with no chance of parole.
Klingbeil’s former defense attorneys submitted notice on Dec. 31 that he will be taking his case to the Wyoming Supreme Court. The filings submitted no explanation for his plan of defense or desired outcome from the appeal.
District Court Judge Bill Simpson approved the request on Jan. 2.
In his motion for appeal, Klingbeil, 77, mentions that his assets have been frozen and he cannot afford a lawyer. He will be represented by the Wyoming Public Defender’s Office if his case moves forward. During the year after he murdered his wife and the jury trial he was represented by Cheyenne-based attorney Donna Domonkos and local lawyer Rives White of LaBuda and White Trial Attorneys.
Klingbeil was found guilty by a jury in August for first degree murder. He shot his wife of 43 years, Donna Klingbeil, at their Wapiti home in August 2018.
Although Klingbeil had what he estimated to be $14 million in assets at the time of the crime, his assets were frozen by a Florida circuit court judge about a month after. Klingbeil and his wife owned a substantial number of rental properties around Cody and in Florida. These properties are managed by Dennis’s biological son Mark Klingbeil, and his stepson Brad Lanken.
That judge, Jorge E. Cueto, stipulated Klingbeil would be allowed to draw up to up to $165,500 on legal and other expenses for his jury trial. That sum was to be drawn from a safe Klingbeil owns in Miami, which at that point held $331,000 in cash.
It appears what prompted that hearing was concern from the State after Klingbeil pulled $20,000 from the family trust account to pay his attorneys shortly after the murder.
“It appears from the record that it was this transfer that triggered the petitioner’s fears of dissipation and the application for the injunction,” Cueto wrote.
According to court documents, Klingbeil stated his only form of current income is a $1,150 monthly Social Security check.
At his November sentencing, Simpson assessed Klingbeil a $10,000 fine, $275 in court fees and $6,188 in restitution with the sentence. He was also ordered to pay $6,024.13 in counseling fees encumbered by Lanken, but it was revealed during the hearing those fees had already been pulled from the family trust. Although Klingbeil has not yet paid any restitution the court determined he does have the ability to pay these costs.
The Park County Attorney’s Office paid Casper attorney Mike Blonigen $21,799.81 to prosecute the case. Blonigen recently came out of retirement to serve the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office and Federal Court prosecuting drug crimes.
Klingbeil was transported to the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington on Dec. 30. Mark Horan, public information officer for the Wyoming Department of Corrections, said Klingbeil will likely be transported to the Wyoming State Penitentiary in February, “but potentially could wind up staying in Torrington.”
Court documents also revealed that Klingbeil’s two sons are holding valuable property owned by the couple, including jewelry, artwork and firearms, in a secure, air-conditioned facility.